Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thinking outside of T6; Elites take 2

By TheGraveMind

Here it is, the last post in the "Thinking outside of T6" series. Here is a list of the past articles. As stated in past articles, this is not theory-hammer. These are things I've used, tested and played. Topics may be biased towards my experience, but it's my perspective.

In the constant fight against Mono-build tyranids, the elite slot is the most rigid of the contenders. Most competitive lists will contain at least one unit of Hive guard, if not two. They are just good. What we are considering is that golden Third slot. I've already covered zoanthropes and Death leaper.

And so that brings us to Ymgarl Stealers. Yealers are a great force to have in your army. But they are just expensive gene stealers! Wrong! They are Stealers, but so much more.

4+ armor save. This is huge as it allows them to survive bolter fire and other basic infantry fire.
Changing stat line. Combat is often a static affair with numbers shifting the scale in one's favor. Being able to increase T for a turn giving them extra survivability is huge. +1 attack is like charging again.
Dormant deployment. This is the big one. You gain huge board control with this and brings some psychological warfare to the game. This is what Lictors are supposed to be like.

Almost 10 points more than a normal gene stealers they are pretty heft unit to be throwing around. 5-10 man squad size is a decent choice, but bringing 10 yealers into the table can be hard, and thats 230 points that need to be used correctly.
If you can't get dormant state deployment, they are far less effective. Some people do not play with any area terrain, or only one piece. Then they are just like other stealers running along the board.

General stratagies for them are as follows.

1. Assault mediocre units. Use +1 T when assaulting, hope to stay in combat. On their turn choose +1 attack for the follow through and win combat, hope they die or run. This leaves you free to assault again on your turn.

2. Assaulting a dangerous squad. Take +1 attack for 4 attacks a piece on the charge and hope you deal significant damage. Following turn take T5 to keep them tied up in combat longer. On your next turn they are stuck there to be followed up with another assault if needed.

Here is a new trick: I've been letting one of my buddies play my Nids lately since I've moved away from playing them for a while. He has been using the Swarmlord and yealers to great effect. The Swarmlord has an ability to grant a unit within 18" preferred enemy or furious charge. So he has it so that they hide center board if possible. When they pop out (thanks to SL's reserve bonus) the move out 6" gain swarmlord's ability, fleet and then assault.

So now furious charge and +1 Strength means 30 attacks at S6, Ws6 I6.
Or you can charge with +1 attacks and preferred enemy. 40 attacks with rerolls to hit.
Lets combo it further and charge with S6, following turn give them +1 attack and preferred enemy (cause he can give it to units in combat).

These are all things to consider. I'd be using it more often if the Swarmlord unit didn't cost 400+ points. Non the less I've been using 2x2 Hive guard and 10 yealers pretty regularly.

I'm not really going to cover Venomthropes, as they are less adding to an army, as building an army around them. I hope you all have enjoyed the series and has helped you build an army that has good board control and some more surprises than just T6.


  1. I've seen lists with unit sizes of 5, 8, and 10 pretty regularly. I think 8-10 is what you want if you want to rely on it as a significant killy part of your force; less than 8 if you are looking to use Ymgarl as disruption; 5 if you want a little disruption and are worried about the points investment, particularly if you have no reserve bonus.

  2. Yes, that is something I forgot to cover. a min squad of 5 is perfect if you just want a small distraction or something to tie up devastators. I normally take about 10. If you have a swarmlord and his abilities, you can probably do fine with 7 or 8.

    Thank you Ghostin. That is a good point.

  3. You touched upon Ymgarls not being as useful without the dormant ability. I would say they are useless without the dormant ability (in comparison to regular genestealers who can at least infiltrate/outflank regardless of terrain).

    The problem for ymgarls is that even with a few pieces of area terrain, there is the chance a smart opponent will fill up the most likely terrain pieces with models so when the Ymgarls come in, they are auto-destroyed if they cannot all fit in the terrain.

    Not saying that they suck--just pointing out their biggest weakness (IMO). This is the primary reason I don't take more than 8 because it can be hard to fit them into smaller pieces of terrain (5 or 6 is even safer for getting them on, but arguably too fragile to be more than a minor annoyance). I guess it depends on the size/quantity of area terrain where you play

  4. I wouldn't say they are useless. They are 4+ which lets them run up the board better than most. Though I agree they would be much better if they could infiltrate or something as well.

    That is why I sometimes pick the terrain that is closer to me, to prevent my opponent from filling it up. But even filling it up isn't that easy. 5-10 small models are smaller than you think when you really have to pack them in.

    But yes, Dormant is one of their greatest features, so it is good to know what kind of terrain you are going to be dealing with.

  5. Admittedly, I haven't used Ymgarls more than a few times, but so far, I have found their 4+ armour not meaningful against shooting since they almost always have a cover save. I find the 4+ really only helps once they are in combat.

    Personally, I don't like deploying them near my side of the table....maybe its psychological, but I feel its a wasted opportunity.

    Honestly, I would prefer if they had the regular infiltrate rule plus their better save and their Alter Form ability would make them more useful to me (and throw in some 'grenade' equivalent too! but that's me wishing).

    Then give the lictors back the equivalent of the 'dormant' ability, like they used to have way back in the day....make Lictors far more useful if they could assault when they come in....I never understood why GW took that ability away from them when they got 'dumbed down' in 3rd Ed.....but this is off-topic


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