Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thinking outside of T6; Troops

By TheGraveMind

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.
Can't decide yet? What do you take, Tervigons or Warriors? Well why not both, they are not mutually exclusive. Instead of two tervigons, take one and a squad of warriors. Now I really didn't mention having an Alpha warrior cause that is just a bonus for the squad. I recommend having one in there at all times if you can, but they aren't horribly needed.

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.


  1. Going back the the shooting options on everything I do have to point out one major difference. Vindicator blasts and the like. If your opponent centers a large blast template on a tervigon.. its gonna do at most 1 wound to the tervigon.. but if is centered on a warrior squad (hoping you spread your guys out correctly) it can possibly kill as many as three warriors.. Just figured I'd put that in. Also for pretty generic warriors they are rather cheap.. but a squad can get expensive very fast. I run mine with boneswords and toxin sacs (thats another 10 points per model on yours)

  2. Flame throwers. Sure cover saves are great but what happens then? I wont argue I have 18 warriors and would love to be able to run them, but they aren't competitive. If they are just going to sit back and hold an objective that's only 18 wounds (assuming 6 warriors). Why not do that with Termis? that's 42 bodies for the price of those 6 warriors also 24 more wounds.

    On paper the warriors look great but in game they fall behind. With battle cannons, vindicators, flame throwers, melta spam, 2 fists in a squad (BA priest, wolf guard SW), I don't see how the warriors are worth just sitting on an objective. So you have to march them across a field jumping from terrain piece to terrain piece, causing you to divert from what your goal is. To get across the field quickly is not the warriors strong point and if you want to run them just change the guns for rending claws that's the only way they will win in combats and get across the table in time.

    Sad day I really do love the warrior models, the poses you can put them in and the thought behind them, but metagame and mech say no :-(

  3. @ Nightstalker: I'll give you Vindicator to an extent. I played against a BA Vindi just the other day with said 6 man warrior squad. It is all about knowing your list, and controlling your enemy. I put my Hive Guard in a position so that they endangered all most all of his tanks, forcing him to have to shoot at them first turn, and S10 Large blast did one wound to Hive Guard in cover. After that it was Stun-locked the rest of the game till I could kill it.
    Vindicators are deadlier against Nids then they are against many other armies, but at the end of the day they are still Vindicators, they shoot once a game, then get stunned, immobilized, weapon destroyed or something else that makes them eh.

    I'm actually building a squad with boneswords and toxin sacs. They are going to be in one of my next posts. But I wasn't going to cover them till I've played them.

    @rionnay: Flamethrowers? They may ignore cover, but not your 4+ armor. Heavy flamers will, but they cause trouble for almost every unit in our dex. Honestly if they are using flame throwers against your warriors, then either they are desperate or you're out of gaunts.

    Almost all of those things that worry warriors, concern TMCs as well. The trick is target saturation. Make them prioritize targets that aren't warriors. Again, the BA I just faced, I put my Prime in contact with the powerfist, He took the hit, but didn't ID as any other warrior would.

    Gaunts are eh in my opinion. Ws/Bs 3, T3 6+ ain't got anything on warriors. They are the ones that worry about flamers. But you are right, if you are sitting on a back objective, gaunts are what you want, cause they can't kill anything by themselves.

    Warriors are midfield units. They are synapse which gaunts are not. They will run up, assault and contest middle objectives, they will live for a few turns, and/or they will kill things. If you keep them just behind the front line units, they are great for doing clean up. And they aren't any slower than most other units, as long as you don't waste time shooting, but if they are close enough to shoot, then they are close enough in general.

    Warriors are competitively if you use them conservatively.

  4. I agree a lot with you on this gravemind.. I that depending on the list warriors are your friends. A lot of people may not agree with me on this, but when I'm looking at some of the lists out there something that pops into my head is how much I love using warriors against terminators. The number of re-rolling power weapon wounds is enough to cause problems for even the TH/SS squads out there.

    And it really does depend on the list you have. I'm currently enjoying using tervigons in my list as they fit my list better than warriors would. But that being said I'm also running 2 squads of toxin stealers that I could trade as well.

    I would make a mention about shrikes here but being as this is about troops choices they don't fit the bill.

  5. As a rule I believe I agree with you - I've never advocated taking 2 tervigons (unless you're trying for a heavy theme list). They have a *very* blatant weakness, and let's face it, when stuck with a 3+ and usually no cover, they're not *that* hard to kill. Leaving you with, as you said, wounded termagants... which pretty much suck on their own.

    My Warriors (which look much like yours, but are always led by a Prime) are part of my Aggressive Synapse, and my Tervigon is definitely a "sit back and contest" unit. For about 300 points, my Tervigon and kin can just about guarantee me an objective. Stick him in a hard-to-reach spot, and he's one big deterrent. Great at that.

    Offensively, though, I look to other units. I don't think the Tervigon is the be all, end all of the Nid codex, troops or otherwise. It has a place, but there are plenty of other places to fill.

  6. I dunno. It's a tough call.

    Warriors are poo in offense, but at least if they're sitting on an objective they have a half-decent chance of killing a drop pod, Vendetta, or other vehicle that wanders over to contest.

    On the other hand, a Tervigon sitting in mid-field can poop out multiple scoring units and send them to each objective you need to take. They'll just have the damnedest time trying to kill a vehicle.

  7. Actually sandwyrm, its the other way around. Generally, the Tervigon can handle vehicles more so than the warriors. Warriors cannot kill a droppod without rending.
    And Warriors are not poo in offense. They are simply selective in who they fight. They are like plasmaguns, expensive and not often used, but they have their role, some which overlap with melta, but still have their little niche.

    Foodie, I always have a prime for my warriors. I just left him out in this review for the sake of equal points. Also, sad as it is, many people do think tervigons to be the only option.

  8. I was comparing Warriors to Gants, not the Tervigon itself.

  9. The problem with spreading out your gaunts like that is a simple one.

    Termagants are terrible.

    On their own, the unit is horridly over-costed. They're great when in range of a Tervigon, but that's about it. So yeah, you can control maybe two objectives with gant broods if you'll spread out on the fringes of Synapse (rarely will you have 3 close enough to make use of this).

    Granted you can use another creature's Synapse bubble... and that has its own pros and cons.

    The gist of the matter is yes, spawned gants are great for running at objectives. What they're not good at is holding those objectives if the enemy is even remotely trying to take them. People need to realize this more, I think, when it comes to the griblies. They die faster than Guardsmen, and break more easily (barring Synapse). I wouldn't personally advocate spreading Gants until the late game, when the objectives are safe. If they ever are.

    Not at all saying it won't work (it's a scoring unit, afterall) but I think people overestimate just what 10 gants can do/survive most of the time.

  10. The argument kept being made that warriors in cover this, warriors in cover that. compare gants in the same way. 10 gants can't survive on their own but they do just as good of a job in cover against long range fire as warriors do. Tervigons aren't your own troop chooses, we all agree on that. Gants are the second.

    - Warriors are pricey and have to hit a marine squad their rhino and a roughly 2 more guys to make up for their points.
    -Warriors aren't good blockers, they just don't move fast enough to get in position to block the hatches of tanks for the explosion. Also they can just be tank shocked.
    -They aren't a scare tactic, people know just hit them first let the power fist do the job, or avoid them, they're slow.
    -Warriors have to be streamlined to do a single job. Either give them claws and talons, swords and talons w/e but giving them a gun gimps them in Close combat.

    Can warriors be great of course, it just requires a lot of points to do it. Points that could be spent on anti-armor or in other areas. Warriors were great with eternal warrior but without it every army has it's answer to them now.
    -Marines, missiles, melta, vindicators, power fists, thunder hammers, lascannons
    -Guard, battles cannons, missiles, lascannons, Basilisks
    -Sisters, Pipe organs of pain, melta, melta, melta, and o ya heavy flamers
    -Eldar, fire prizms, fire dragons, lances
    -Tau, rail guns, missile spam, marker lights (skrew your cover sir)
    - Orks, power claws, rokit launchers, killa cans, buzz saws.

    Get the point I suppose. Of course if it can kill a warrior it kills a gant, but one power claw hit killing a 5 point army sounds better to me.

  11. Most of those things that can kill a warrior, can kill a TMC. Why should they shoot at those warriors who can only hurt infantry, when I'm shoving two tyrannofexes and a Tyrant down their throats? I think their melta and lascannons are going to be focused there early game. Not to mention the Tervigon spewing out all those gaunts, that needs to be stopped. And then you have 30+ gaunts that could easily overrun you. That is where flamers and a lot of anti-infantry fire power will be going. Especially they are screening for your other units.
    It is your job as a general to make sure that those heavy weapons are taken care of by late game so when the warriors are a threat, they won't be taking so much fire.
    Warriors get cover, cause the gaunts should be up front. What is in front of the gaunts? Gaunts die to flamers even in cover. Warriors with larger bases take a few hits, higher toughness means less wounds, and multi wounds means their kill potential isn't hindered. 12 gaunts take 2 wounds. Now you have 10 gaunts shooting next turn. 4 warriors take 2 wounds, that is still 4 warriors shooting. If you have a prime or a heavy weapon, then you can even wound allocate to make them last. That is the huge reason multi-wound models are good, they fire at full capacity until they are fully dead.

    As to the gaunts running to an objective, I should have made it more clear that was a last turn trick. People underestimate the fact you can get a troop choice up to 18" away onto an objective. More so if you move to assault and contest. Just make sure you give them FNP before you move them away, and they should survive. If they are out of synapse, it won't matter till next turn, and even then, they'll either just sit there, or run into cover. To do it right, aim them and an objective that is in cover. It is simply something to consider.

  12. With all the respect I can muster Grave I don't believe you addressed the issues at hand. You spoke against flamers nothing else. the points people throw into warriors could be put towards better uses. TMC such as the tervigon and tyranofex don't scare people in close combat. The most they will do is kill 2 guys which a power fist along with other attacks can put 2 wounds on the model tying combat. My point, why in the world would they shoot at them so soon? Shooting the warriors will destroy a troop choice along with what could be a halfway decent unit in CC.

    Through this whole post I have done my best to be open minded and believe that warriors are useful and I've yet to find that. Warriors were a great unit that got turned into a gimmick in the new codex by making them troops. They themselves are not worth the points.

  13. Well they should shoot at your other stuff first because they are the ones at range threatening the transports and such. Warriors don't threaten anything until short range/ cc, so they can wait a few turns till they shoot at them. That is why I was advocating holding warriors back.
    TMCs in combat by your choice should have fired all weapons and assaulted in to either wipe out survivors, or a more important role, tie up the enemy. If there are no good targets to shoot at, then reducing the enemies mobility by locking in combat is a great idea. Hold them there till CC units can help.

    I appreciate the open mindedness, and I am sorry to hear you believe that way. It is true those points could go to bigger/badder/or more specialized units, but if you have most of those covered, warriors make a great addition and powerful supporting units.
    They work well for me, but that doesn't mean they work for everyone, I respect that.

    I wouldn't mind having a game to try and portray their potential.

  14. I'd love to play a game but it wont be until december when I get home for winter break. I go to Ball State if you're in muncie on a saturday or sunday let me know. I Wish you the best of luck with the warriors however and if you can make them work keep them.

    As for the rest of us I will stick with my 2 tervigons and gants.


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