Friday, January 13, 2012

6th Edition Tyranids

by Anonymous Foodie

So the "leak" of 6th is out.  Real or fake, we can't say just yet... but that doesn't stop us from thinking about it.

Regardless of authenticity, it's fun to look over the possibilities and think about the tweaks and changes we'd make to both our builds and playstyles.

There's a lot to take in with any new edition, and I'm far from saying that I've read the thing word for word, cover to cover.  But I have given it a solid look over, and double checked a few key rules.  So here's a bit of what I've found...

First and foremost, a new edition nullifies the 5th ed FAQ.  Shadow in the Warp is not a laughable excuse for psychic defense.  Mycetic Assault armies are more viable as you can attach a Prime to a unit and throw them down together.  Most of what was necessary (ie, idiots trying to abuse Doom) is covered in the core rules.
Army speed, as a whole, is pretty mean.  The lowly hormagaunt, our base assault troop, leisurely jaunts around the table 16" a turn.  Assaults are conducted at 18".
Tricksy moves like Deep Strikes also factor into this.  Lictors still appear anywhere without scatter or mishap.  Infiltrating Genestealers now pop up on turn two nearly anywhere on the board.

Blast weapons becoming more accurate makes Heavy Venom Cannons much better at vehicle suppression.  They hit far more often, and if the middle hole is off the vehicle you still have a S9 hit that shakes the tank if it hits, instead of a S4 hit that may glance.

Carnifexes can Ram, like vehicles.  This combined with the above HVC change starts to make a 185 point monster look more appealing.  A beast that can very reliably shake guntanks on the way in, and plow through infantry and tanks alike when it gets there?  I see a glimmer of promise.

Assaults no longer require you to move straight toward the nearest model.  That is to say, if you're hiding behind a small patch of difficult terrain as opposed to being entrenched in it, it's entirely possible for a brood of hormagaunts moving 18" to bypass that thin defense.  Even a 12-16" charge action has a lot of leeway to get around smaller obstacles.  Having near-army wide Move Through Cover allows for full movement through terrain.  While not quite as effective as grenades in terms of avoiding the Alpha Strike, it would certainly do away with a good amount of it.

Easier to take down tanks through successive glancing/penetrating hits.  While I'm unclear if successive damage has to come from a completely new source, or if, for example, a Hive Guard unit scoring 2 stuns and a weapon destroyed will actually knock off two guns, it's still easier to plink away at all the armor we see on the table.  Further, assaulting vehicles is overall more viable, as you can (fairly easily with the large broods we wield) block exits and then insta-charge the unit that was hiding inside.

The codex update largely brings things in line with new rules, but in a few cases it bumps up a handful of abilities to be something a bit more promising.  A lictor's Pheremone Trail now (as it did last codex) works if the Lictor is in reserve.  ie, the ability is worth the ink it's printed with.  A Pyrovore can, in a sense, use its flamespurt in combat (at least for a d6 hits), and this combines with Acid Maw's ability to ignore armor in combat.  Toxic Miasma incurs a -1 penalty during its toughness test, making it more effective.

Of course, not everything is made of sparkles and sunshine.  There are downsides.

MC's of all types suffer a -1 Evasion, making them easier to hit.  Marines hitting on a 2+ is pretty sick.  Longfangs hitting on a 2+ is straight up projectile vomit.

Intervening units only give a 5+ cover save (ish) that kills a model in said unit if passed (old grot rule).  Combined with the above, the big beasties are really taking a hit (no pun intended) in terms of staying away from missiles and other nasty shots.

Swapping the shooting and assault phases is rather a kick to the taint for an army that relatively operates on the idea of support fire as you move in for the kill.  Tyranids have lately become the non-assault assault army... support from shooty units, or at least units that can shoot pretty well on the way in (such as warriors, particularly those led by a prime) is necessary.  Combined with overall longer moves, this means far less time shooting (1 round instead of 2-3 before first combat).  The Nids' comparative 'weak' CC ability may not be enough to overcome the loss of this support.

Having every single weapon available to the army being of the assault variety literally MEANS NOTHING.  At least not to the bugs.  In theory, the extra attack gained on the charge for having one of these handy dandy easy squeeze trigger guns would maybe turn the tide in the world where half our shooting just went out the window (if not more)... but in order to get that you have to be carrying a dedicated one-handed CCW...


... which Tyranids do not have access to.  At all.  There is no such thing as a CCW in the nid list.  We just have upgrades to our existing profile attacks, according to the codex update.

In the end, there seem to be a lot of perks.  The list of blatant downsides is pretty slim, but they reek of a magnitude that, possibly, will be just another mountain of fail to try to climb around.

Possibly.  Possibly not.

I'm definitely eager to try out a small game with these rules, if only for something different.  Of course, I need to make a trip for materials for about 30 mycetic spores if I'm going to do it right... but I was planning to do that anyway.


  1. I personally think it will be the end of tyranids. They tried to make the book more "swarm" based, and failed. Now if the rules changed so that models don't give other models cover, that completely ruins tyranids. Sure there is a rule that gives a 5+ and they take wounds, but there is also limitation on using it. I've been playing Nids for well over 5 years and layering units for cover has ALWAYS been one of the core things.

  2. Keep in mind that this is supposedly just a playtest rules set. I don't think if an issue is large enough to "Kill" any codex outright would be kept without that codex getting some sort of workaround for it. Also things to keep in mind are that while yes we are getting a -1 to our evasion.. So are tanks that tanks. And if what I read was correct that can be nullified by simply moving. So lets just see what the finished product yields as far as that goes.

    OH as a last note.. Carnifex's are getting the ability to ram like vehicles... I so totally called it.

  3. Make the formerly overcosted stuff worth it's points, while whatever works now gets nerfed? Sounds like GW's MO to me. :)

    Honestly, with the new transport killing rules, Genestealers should rule the roost again. Plus, Warriors become viable again with the changes to instant death and the invul saves from power weapons.

  4. @ TheGraveMind

    I've been playing nids for the past 12 years, and being able to give yourself cover has only been around for the past 5 :p. The way intervening units work has changed every edition... from forcing Ld tests to ignore, to blocking LoS completely, to cover saves. I think if something like this were to be implemented it would obviously require rethinking current tactics, but this alone is not the end of the world.


    Again, my read-over is far from perfect, but I think *not* moving gives you a further -1... so an MC standing still would be hit on a 2+ even by Guardsmen. But honestly this effects relatively little... you rarely see Tyrants because of the exorbitant cost, Carnifexes are a joke... Trygons are great, but at least you can just run them at Mawlocs which have the common sense to disappear during the shooting phase. Tervigons are the only thing to worry about, and at least they have 6 wounds and can give themselves FNP.

    @ Sandwyrm

    Worth the points? Possibly. A carnifex is still a hefty investment. Honestly the reason we don't see many non-6W MC's on the board is because there's a universal lack of survivability. Fexes got hit by losing the ability to take extra wounds, toughness, or a better save. The Tyrant's good armor doubled in cost, and even Tyrant Guard got a severe price hike. The big bugs just don't stick around long enough to be worth the prices, of current. These changes? It's worth seeing how they stack up, but I'm not about to jump on the bandwagon completely.

    If anything's about to kill the bugs, it's losing the shooting phase. People don't realize how reliant they are on that support.

    As far as warriors... I thought it was power swords that gave the 5++, not blanket power weapons? Otherwise why is the fist sucking so much? And if you throw a prime with them (which gives them a huge boost anyway) you can soak up missiles fairly easily (especially with either Regen or FNP to help shrug them off).

    Interesting nonetheless

  5. It's power weapons that don't have additional rules.

  6. Ah... which means boneswords (our only power weapon) are exempt thanks to their insta-death rules.

    Still, being able to survive (if just barely) a missile hit on a basic warrior would be nice. S9 and S10 are fairly rare, and extremely expensive in groups. A mess of S8 will still hurt a lot, but will be slightly less detrimental than current.

    I'm still quirking my brow at the CCW situation. Nids are meant to be assault beasts, and are the only army with nothing but assault weapons in their armory. Yet the "having an assault weapon" bonus does not apply to them. Further, without having "a CCW" in the profile, their attacks lose the (rather negligible) AP6. The first is pretty huge, the second only matters vs orks and nids (who hate it, as CCW's are common gear now). Due to fluff (claws and teeth instead of "proper" CCW's) we get a rather massive shaft. At least what seems to be one.

    The shooting... while it's staggering at first to lose something like warriors as a support unit, I'm willing to adjust. Anti-vehicle shooting still comes from dedicated platforms, so that's relatively unaffected. It's the anti-troop help that suffers... gants being able to shoot in with bolt pistol equivalents before charging, warriors tossing in 3 S5 shots each... ah well. I'm still thinking it'd be fun to test.

    At this point, I'm also thinking that a mycetic drop army with mostly hard CC units is a pretty solid build.

    1. I am reading quite a lot if this differently then you guys as far as Tyranids.

      --Boneswords are not power weapons -- so no 5+ inv. They simply ignore armor which is not the same thing.
      --Shadow still doesn't affect units in transports, but neither does hoods so atleast its balanced.
      --Tyranids do have CCWs -- on their Monstrous creatures. Read it very carefully. The codex erratas replace the old rules and it never states they don't get bonuses for two weapons as before. It says the either have basic attacks or monstrous close combat weapons. Unless this changes in the official release, this means any MC with an assault based shooting weapon can use it as a secondary weapon, make the monstrous ccw their primary and gain an extra attack. That's pretty nice and I think intentional with the pricing and way assaults work.
      --Tyranid MCs all strike at S10 in cc. That's a nice boost assuming that isn't a typo.
      --Posion working on high S is pretty nice also.
      --Being multi-targeting (2) will be great for splitting fire or using psychic powers.
      --Being hit so easily by shooting is the drawback for how much more deadly our MCs have become, atleast in my opinion.
      --Some major changes to our psychic powers, just by how the rules work and also the wording in he errata. Catalyst now works till the end of a cycle -- meaning going second is detrimental. Paroxysm now can't be used prior to an assault (but it can be used one one unit while shooting another with other weapons, which is nice).
      --Change to no retreat is both a boon. Read it very closely, its quite an improvement over all and makes being in multi-combats much less of an issue for us. Yeah it will suck to take critical hits but in a multi assault we can allocate them to gribblies which is nice.
      --Changes to instant death is both good and bad (S10 is more effective against T6 now, force weapons less so).
      --Allocation to multi-wounders is huge for our carnifexes and warriors. Read that one very carefully, especially when patch ups occur.

      God I could go on, so much good changes (reserves is a big one to me) really need to play a game with my nids.

  7. One big Tyranid buff is that Jaws got nerfed against MC's.

  8. Also, you can't tank shock MC's out of objectives now. You either kill them or they stay there.

  9. It says you can use Krak grenades VS MCs as a single ST6 AP4 attack at WS1.
    That's pretty cool for upgraded guard squads, trying to put grenades down Jaw's throat!

  10. Could you guys take a peek at Chaos Space Marines Next as it seems to have really affected the main build drastically(Lash now pretty much sucks as it goes off after assault.)

  11. @Mercutioh (What a bizarre mixture of Shakespeare and the work of Kazuki Takahasi...)

    - Lash wasn't really very good anyway. Warptime Princes are better, or better still, Kharn the Betrayer. Especially since giving vehicles a WS value lets Gorechild slice 'em up on a 2+...

  12. Ummm...SCARIEST CHANGE? - units Engaging into combat after Deep Striking! I can't believe any Tyranid players would overlook this massive change!

    Thanks to the rules for Deep Strike (p. 140) a Trygon can execute a Deep Strike, and while it can't make a Charge move afterwards, it CAN make an Engage move. If you Deep Strike within 'Critical Range' (within 18") you're subject to scatter and Defensive Fire, but if you land within 8" (6" move + 2" thanks to Fleet) you can move into combat. True you'll have to weather some Defensive Fire but you should have the wounds and saves to do that.

    Don't want to take Defensive Fire? Fine, take a Mawloc instead, which the 6th FAQ indicates doesn't suffer Defensive Fire when Deep Striking. In fact, the Mawloc might be better since he has few enough attacks not to wipe out a unit. That lets you charge another unit, say Hormagaunts, in later and get the 'Alpha Strike' bonus of Init. 10. Don't have Frag Grenades? Who cares!

    Mawlocs for chomping and tying up infantry units and Trygons for surfacing and slashing vehicles to ribbons.

    Just look out for Blood Angel DoA armies! If you think Deep Striking engaging bugs are lethal it pales in comparison to an ACCURATELY LANDING Descent of Angels force carving up units, and if they can dispatch them in their assault phase, then blasting others nearby.

    Damn, this new edition is going to be bloody!

  13. @Mecutioh

    Sorry, but nobody on the blog plays Chaos Space Marines.

  14. @Trent

    I missed the engage rule being a normal-move assault. That's a huge bonus for Blood Angels too.



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