Many people, myself included, have become bored/tired of tyranids because of the supposed monobuild that everyone runs. This isn't going to be a post telling you its a myth, cause I think it is one of the best tournament lists Nids can make. What I'm trying to get across in this post is that it isn't the end-all-be-all that everyone thinks, nor are the lists others make, simply going to the other extreme. Not taking hive guard, or Tyrannofexes, or what ever it may be, isn't the answer. Every army needs some melta or missile launchers. The trick is to not spam them, and not be so depended on them.
Today I'll be covering Troop choices and options.
The spam (tervigons)
Everyone is happy taking two Tervigons as troops, and calling it done. Well,... eh. I've done it, and it works, but it has it's weaknesses. I've taken one as an Hq, then one as Troops, leaving me 4 open troop slots to fill up.
Cons: It is a TMC (Tyranid Monstrous Creature), and thus probably wont be getting cover all that often. It is only Ws and Bs 3, and only has three attacks, and one gun. It deals wounds back to gaunts that are near it, and they should be near it. So essentially, he is going to eat a lot of shots and kill nearby gaunts.
Pros: Can cast FNP on a squad, or use onslaught which lets a unit run then shoot. Boosts nearby gaunts to ridiculous good, for 20 points. Can have 18" synapse range. It is a TMC so will be doing damage when it does hit. And the biggest, it can make gaunts! Now everyone knows this, but some don't realize the potential. This Trooper Pooper, lets you make 3D6 gaunts, place them 6" from the tervigon, then they get to move their 6". Follow that with a run move, and you just got a possible 13-18" objective grab. After that move the Tervigon the other way to another objective, and run him for a 7-12" go at another objective.
My general layout is
Tervigon - Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands, Catalyst, and Stinger salvo. 195 points
Most people tell you to take cluster spines instead of stinger salvo on Tfexes and Tervs, but I don't think so on the Tervigons. When I'm surrounding it with 20+ gaunts, I don't want a Deathwind launcher, I want a heavy bolter. Sure BS3 makes those few shots not the best, but better than killing my own gaunts.
Catalyst generally is for the gaunts late game, and for my anti-tank units early game. Once its down to close combat, give it to the biggest squad of gaunts you have, and charge them in. It will help them survive attacks, and the upcoming No Retreat.
Toxin sacs and adrenal glands are both there to transfer their ability to the gaunts, but they still effect the tervigon, and don't forget that. What it really means, is they are great for taking out other TMCs and Monstrous creatures in general when needed. I've killed many a deamon prince with them. On the charge they have 4 attacks that when hit (which is the limiting factor) they wound on a 4+ reroll. and with 6 wounds they bog down that MC, and next turn spawn gaunts and charge in with them.
So the lists that take Two tervigons as troops, if your opponent is concerned about your troops, all he has to do is focus fire on them. Once they are dead, you have some injured gaunt squads with no bonuses, that can be mopped up easily. Thus is why we are now exploring alternatives.
Tyranid Warriors! My basic warriors are scything talons and Deathspitters. Comes to 210 points
A squad of 6 warriors comes to roughly the same point cost as my above tervigon. So how do they act on the table? Lets start with heavy weapons, Missiles or lascannons or melta, your choice. It is going to take 6 hits to kill a Tervigon. Since S8+ will ID warriors, it will take 6 hits to wipe out the squad. So far on equal grounds, until you consider the fact that warriors can easily get a cover save. jumping them up to 12 shots needed. So 2 to 1 win for warriors there.
How about bolters? lets say 20 bolters hits (yes, thats a lot of Hurricane bolters), so against Tervigons, thats 3.33 wounds dealt, and 3+ save means 1.1 wounds dealt. Now against warriors, 20 hits will lead to 10 wounds, and 4+ save means 5 wounds dealt. So it seems they are weaker to bolter fire, as the 6 to 18 wounds ratio is lower than the 1 to 5 wounds dealt. Ah but wait, again cover save comes into effect. Lets say you are on your objective you need to hold, So you go to ground. 10 wounds dealt, with a 3+ cover save, brings you to 3.33 wound dealt. That puts you equal to the ratio of wounds having to a Tervigon. So three times as many wounds, and three times as many wound taken.
So survivability is roughly the same, a little better against S8+, a little weaker against S4. Heavy bolters and Assault cannons have a huge difference, but you'll have to learn to mitigate that. How about offensive?
In shooting, Warriors are pumping something like 5-6 times more shots. Both are S5 shots, so they have a chance of glancing light armor to death. They will also be forcing a lot of saves onto infantry. Clearly the warriors are the winners in shooting. In assault, well lets just say its about the same. Almost 6 times more attacks, and a higher weapon skill, means they will be forcing a lot of saves. And don't forget to reroll those 1s with the talons. It easily makes up for not ignoring armor for most units.
So really they are sounding very good right now. "Lets just replace all Tervigons with 6 warriors, and rush them forwards! Obviously they will kill a lot more!" Well hold on there cowboy, you don't expect to kill off whole squads first round do you? Didn't think so. That 10 man marine squad may only do 1 or 2 wounds with the powerfist each turn to the Tervigon, but those warriors are going to hurt. That same powerfist is going to be KILLING 1 or 2 warriors (3-6 wounds) on top of the 1 or 2 from normal attacks that get through. So the 1 or 2 dead marines from the tervigon, vs the 3 or 4 failed armor saves when facing warriors, that powerfist is going to live a few turns. And you'll be losing combat by a large margin (maybe 6 or more).
So keep them away from powerfists, not horrible but they are out there. Well as a squad warriors have a larger board coverage with synapse right? Well then there is that 18" synapse Tervigons can have, so we'll call that even.
Really what it comes down to is Mobility, and targets. Tervigons let you practically throw gaunts down on the table and reach out and grab objectives. Warriors hold their ground better, so keep them mid-field and they'll stay there well. Warriors are great against light vehicles, and light infantry. Tervigons can assault heavier tanks, and handle elite units better, at least long enough to spawn more gaunts and have them assault in to help. That many 4+ poison attacks are good at taking down the big boys.
I'll have a few more of these after I've play-tested some more. I'm not just talking theory on these, and I wont cover anything until I've tried it in a serious game.
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