Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tactica: Tyranids

This will be another living document - one that I will use as a blog within a blog to put down notes and lessons learnt from my battles with various forces in the 40k world using my Nids. Deadly combinations and potent weaponary can be found herein (or so I hope). As this will continue to be worked on, the order of the units by unit analysis may come in parts - mainly because I think in order to comment on particular methods, you need to run the gauntlet a few times. Without further ado, here are lessons learnt by the gestalt mind of enrgie of Hivefleet Leviathan.

When Fighting Space Wolves

My most common enemy - j-hova (Jason) in HK fields a very Troop heavy army and often brings big guns to the table through his Long Fangs and Grey Hunters. There are several things to consider when playing against him and the Wolves in general. 

Power Armour: The best best against these guys are using Boneswords (BS) as these slice through armour like a hot knife through butter. Warriors armed with twin BS are the cheaper alternative. I have not taken the Lash Whip option as the Tyranid Warriors have a high Initiative value anyway. However Lash Whips are a great way to mitigate charging into terrain as it forces all the Wolves to strike at Initiative 1. The other option is to bring Genestealers. With their ability to rend and multitude of attacks, they will be able to take out a squad of Long Fangs. However throw them into a unit of Grey Hunters and you will hit a tarpit. Ill advised move unless they are in large numbers and even that, sending a brood of Termagants to engage the SW before sending in the Genestealers is advised. The Genestealer will not suffer the extra +1 Attack that Counterstike offers the SW. Mind you though, the Genestealers are a very fragile and costly unit. 

Heavy Weapons: One of the best assets the Wolves have in their arsenal is the ability to have their heavy weapons split fire. Long Fangs can nominate whichever targets they like and split their fire effectively targetting your large creatures and putting in just the right amount of firepower. My counter has been fast cheap units - tarpit units. Long Fangs are not the best in hand to hand combat and if you put in a unit of 10-15 Gaunts or Gargolyes in, they will be shut down. As long as your small ones remain within Synapse and have Feel No Pain from a nearby Tervigon, they should be able to hold. 

Tyranid Unit Analysis

Zoanthropes (Added 21st Oct 2010)
I have contemplated dropping them entirely from my list before but the recent Tournament in Singapore have given me a new believe that there is room for them in any list. These guys performed really well for me. With a 3+ Invul save they survived shots after shots. While they drop really quick to Str8 weapons (instant death), it helped to draw fire away from my other units. Looking at them from a synergistic point of view, these guys in broods of 2 or 3 (depending on the size of your games) help alleviates the shooting which would go onto your bigger creatures. If they ignore your Zoans then go to town with their vehicles. Str10 Lance is our best bet against those pesky LandRaiders and ARM13 vehicles. I find that in bigger games you may want to maximise the number of Zoans with each Elite choice. Rule of thumb that I am using at the moment is 3 Zoans in one Elite choice for games above 1500 games.

I often select this unit and bring along a Broodlord with them. The Broodlord would be upgraded with Scything Talons while the unit is not - they become my meatshield and I do not want to invest more points into a unit which will be Outflanking (i.e. not in the game for 1/3 of the time if I were lucky). 

Synergy: You want a unit of Genestealers to be creeping up the corner of your opponent's table. At 1500 points and above, your opponent will have enough units to stretch from mostly one side to the other side of the table mitigating the problem that you may arrive on the wrong side of the table. Hence I strongly suggest bringing the Hive Tyrant with Hive Commander which allows them the +1 to Reserve Rolls. Alternatively, if you have the Swarmlord, you will be able to re-roll where they enter from, a 50-50 chance that you will hit them where required! If your opponent clumps up in the middle, you win too! Now you can send your Trygons deep into his heart! 

The lowly Termagant. Armed with the basic Fleshborer, they may not pose much a threat. I see them mainly as the first wave, the first bunch of critters that you sacrifice so that your hard hitting bugs will get into the enemy. They serve to whittle down tougher foes with their Toxin Sacs. In my army I usually take 2 broods of them armed with Fleshborers to put the Tervigon under the Troops section. These Gaunts will usually scuttle as far forwards together with my other creatures, creating a wave of 4+ invul saves for the rest of the non-Monstrous Creatures. Good all round unit to capture and contest table objectives and tying up pesky tough units like Nobs etc. Be prepared to invest into at least 120 of these models. My current collection includes models armed with Spine Fists and actual Fleshborers. I use them all as Fleshborers and cannot be bothered to replace the arms.

Synergy: This is an obvious one but certainly with the mid-sized models such as Hive Guard and Warriors - providing them a 4+ cover save when the opponent shoots through the Gaunts. Also, they are worth their points in gold when you have Feel No Pain cast onto them - although be on the lookout for Psychic Hoods. Against the Space Wolves, I often throw them in advance of the bigger beasties taking away their countercharge on a unit which cost no more than 50-80 points - allowing the likes of Warriors to rip through them in the 2nd round of combat.

++ Keep watching this space as I will update this with lessons learnt! ++


  1. Ray, I think to break my list, you need more horde... You keep on taking tervigons or baby makers (dunno the name) but you always stop making them due to poor rolling. after they lose that function, at I1, you are just asking for my rune priest to play connect the dots with jaws of the world wolf. How about investing less on these mc's and get more horde troops? Your list right now is sorta obvious in terms of which is of higher value and thus paving my way for the order of operations/elimination. Another point is, knowing that my army is incredibly shooty, you have these huge targets walking up to me, yeh you may be fast but losing 1 tervigon per turn seems a bit sacrificial. wow... this reply really is making me itch to attempt writing & playing a nid list against space wolves. Awesome and insightful article buddy!

  2. Tervigons are quite a must actually for Horde army. Yes at I1, they will suffer if you call the Jaws but I have to live with it. I actually have a list called the meatball which has 6 Tervigons. They would be able to generate on average 60 Gaunts per turn.

    Also the other problem I have is that I do not have enough small critter models!!

  3. definately try to overload with gene stealers, I know they're fragile but you saw how those 259 gene stealers functioned. Can you imagine a unit of these to match each of my grey hunters? Go more on hordes, go more on warriors but really do considering less mc's... atleast against space wolves. I'm not trying to screw you over... I really think there is potential with nids that can be exploited more efficiently.

  4. Space Wolves really don't like Trygons. Usually mine DS in and kill 1-2 squads apiece of his troops or or Long Fangs, which is a pretty huge blow for him.

    Ymgarl 'Stealers are a great way to take care of his heavy weapons, since they can pop out of the same cover that the Fangs are standing in and charge them. Gargs and Raveners also work here for getting off early charges.

    Tervigons are awesome. Just hang back/in reserve and kill off the model with Jaws so you don't have to deal with it.

    SW have an advantage over normal Marines in that they get BP/CCW/Bolter on their normal dudes as well as counterattack, so what you need to do is negate those extra attacks he gets. T6 models are a good way to handle this, as they can soak up absurd numbers of attacks where a horde would get chopped to pieces. You can also build a superior shooting/mobility army and cut his tanks out from under him and then whittle him down before making the charges.

  5. How do you mitigate the Trygons coming in late and missing out most of the game - not getting it's points cost back? I end up investing tons into the Swarmlord + Lictor or Tyrant + Lictor to arrive on 2+ on Turn 2. That's a killer combi.

    I agree. Ymgarl GS are great for taking those Long Fangs out. I have just started building my Gargs and will see them in battle soon!

    The only problem I face at the moment is Jason has Power Fists. While the T6 beasts can soak up the huge number of attacks, the Power Fists does take it out quickly. Do you charge the small guys in together or as a mop up crew?

    Wouldn't that mean that your army is very monster heavy?

  6. hmmm.... I really wanna play abusepuppy now... lol just for curiosity's sake... do you know rune priests can cause complications for deepstriking units? Ray, I think ur on the right track with worrying about my greyhunters with powerfisting abilities. my long fangs are so vanilla you can have them and I can almost be sure you will be sacrificing more than what my long fangs are worth. besides, my long fangs should be useless by t2 as being nids, you should have already engaged me in cqc by that time.

  7. @Energie
    A Lictor doesn't help you arrive on turn 2; his ability doesn't function unless he's on the board, which he can never be in time for the first reserve roll since he himself starts in reserve.

    Power Fists in every squad is bad for 'Nids, obviously. The way to handle that is just insure that you wipe him out before they can come into play, and don't let him charge you big critters. Make sure you've got Adrenal (from a Tervi on little guys, bought for the Trygons) or otherwise strike ahead of them and open up a charge; it shouldn't be difficult to put ~5 wounds on the squad from the Trygon and force enough saves with the Termagants to kill off everything, at which point you consolidate the 'Gants in front of the Trygon so he can't easily get anything B2B with it. Repeat as necessary.

    I do tend to play MC-heavy armies, as I think they're generally the stronger of the Tyranid builds. It's not the only viable way, though.

    Yeah, if you take that power. But unless you're investing heavily in HQs, you aren't going to have that AND Living Lightning AND JotWW AND all the other good powers; you've gotta make some decisions.

    I'd be curious to see your list as well, actually. He doesn't mention you being meched up at all; is that correct or not? Non-meched Wolves should have some real problems with Tyranids if the latter is played properly.

  8. @AbusePuppy
    Lictors usually arrive Turn 2 for me with the +1 from Hive Commander - it's usually 3+ making it quite easy. The other amazing combi (also very expensive) is putting the Swarmlord+Hive Tyrant (wi Hive Commander) giving you a +2 to Reserve rolls.

    Jason usually deploys within area terrain allowing him to hit before me. The only way I can see to mitigate that was wi the Ymgarl Genestealers which I included in the recent game. Any other tips in taking them out in terrain?

  9. @abusepuppy,
    I love tanks, but I've learned to steer away from them. Basically I prefer taking very plain lists.
    Sometimes I even deploy my rhinos empty depending on what role I would like for them to achieve.

    besides, everyone and there mother has a melta gun up their sleeves nowadays. doesn't make sense to take too much expensive vehicles. where u at homie? singapore?

  10. oh yeh... i do try to exploit the full advantages of my codex. SW are allowed 4 hq's. with multiple rune priests, someone is gonna fail on the 24" line of jaws of the world.

  11. Yo. This is a terrific plan you got to have an on-going Tyranid tactica from your games.

    This is what I have to say. Tervigons should always get cover saves. How to do that? Get a 2+ save MC infront of it. Namely Tyranofex or Hive Tyrant. Basically, in my army list every unit has a cover save. This greatly annoy the shit out of my opponent.

    Try Doom of Malan'tai. This absolutely cost havoc on foot lists.

    Boneswords are my favorites.

    Will be looking out for this article. Keep it up.

  12. Grim can you show me how you usually deploy them? I like the idea of cover from others!


    Look at the deployment.

    1st line: Termagants
    2nd line: Tyrant Guard(thus have cover save)
    2nd line: Hive Tyrant w/ Tyrant Guard (notice where the Tyrant Guard is, thus have cover save)
    3rd line: Tervigon (Behind Hive Tyrant, thus have cover save)
    4th line: Harpy is behind building but can be behind Tervigon (thus have cover save)

    All my Tyranid battle report shows how I deploy. Go dig gold. Hopefully can help you with better deployment of Tyranids.

    This deployment does more then just provide cover saves. It also serves as bubble wrap for enemy assault units not being able to assault what they want. You'll mess up your opponent plan with this. They want to assault? Shoot the 4+ cover save fearless Termagant. You win anyways.

  14. Thanks man. I see what you did. This is interesting as you have created cover saves for your units. Very interesting.

    However, won't this create bottle necks? When your Tervi makes more Gaunts, won't this start to choke your own lines?

  15. omg ray u need to battle me tomms with all this advice u've gotten.

    when I play enrgie, its not what I want to assault. Its more like what my opponent wants to bring to me to assault as I can play rather defensive.

    I see you have a very powerful wave. what would you do if I deployed sparsely? again it works well in 1 group as you said. what about against tau? or a vulkan he'stan list?

  16. @engie: Play a few games. I never run out of space. play more, U will pick up what I am suggesting.

    @J-hova: Vulcan army works within 24". Well within nid range. Against shooting list, some will die but more will survive to hit the firing line. Once there it's nids playground. Against tau, will depend whether he can deploy well. Nonetheless, nids will always move towards the enemy every turn. By turn 5-6, nids will control most objective. There's alot more tots that goes into playing. Not saying nids will always win but at least won't always be losing.



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