Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Starting 40k with tyranids

By TheGravemind

So I guess we've had some emails in the past about starting up tyranids, and over the years I've talked to many a person who wants to play tyranids because they seem need and they like the fluff/feel of them, but are hesitant because they don't want to auto lose when 3 tanks are deployed.

First let me say that Tyranids can do fine against tanks. You can easily take on 8+ tanks and do well, if you know what you are doing (and a little luck helps too). The key is that our anti-tank units are Very survivable, so as long as you don't go sacrificing them, they should last a long while. You will have to focus fire, correctly prioritize targets, and assault as a back up, but you can take out tanks.

The problem is what if you don't fight tanks? What if you face against Shrike list? Ork mobs? Other tyranids? You have sunk so many points into anti-tank, that you will have a very focused list for anti mech but you're anti infantry will be lacking. Tyranids can do great anti infantry, but not both at the same time. They are missing a bit of duality. They have trouble making a balanced all comers list.

Tyranids do fine in a local setting, because they have to be slightly built around a meta to stay competitive. I've consistently placed well in some of the smaller tournaments. It is when you get to larger ones with a wider variety that you increase your chance for Rock/Paper/Scissors effect.

If you wish to get a starting list going for tyranids it is rather simple.

The core of almost any tyranid list is
2 Hive guard
2 Hive guard
2 Tervigons
2 Squads of gaunts
Thats about 700 points.
From there you can add in an HQ choice, maybe some gene stealers, or what ever else you need.

What I'm trying to say is if you want to try tyranids, don't be scared because people tell you they suck and lose to mech. Don't take them to large point scales, or large tournaments, and you should do fine. Proxy a lot before you buy, and get a lot of practice in.
And one last plus, for a very new person, it is only infantry rules you have to worry about for the most part.


  1. It makes me sad that pretty much every viable list has to have tervigons in it. There are some fun variations (like swapping in some venomthropes for cover bubbles, adding droppod zoe's and maybe some genestealers for some reserve elements) but fundamentally the tervigon list makes me sad because I'd like to run nids without them, but I really don't think its feasible to lose that FNP granting ability, the scoring MC/target priority, etc.

  2. I agree. The FNP is just too valuable, especially when our units cannot utilize cover well.

    I think at lower than 1.5k you can get away with out using Tervigons. Warriors are survivable at the lower points and stealers can more easily overwhelm opponents.

  3. Why wouldn't you take them? They are so good for the cost.

  4. I belive all you needed to do to fix the Codex would be to give all tyranid models stealth except monstrous creatures.

    Done! They are good again!

  5. Personally stealth wouldn't do as much, because Tyranids don't utilize cover as much as people think. They layer their units for cover instead. Not having assault grenades is what really hurts a lot of units. There is no one quick fix for tyranids, there are many small things.

  6. I think that if being in synapse range gave eternal warrior the tyranids would be a far more competitive codex, not to mention that it would make half the units in the codex usable again.

    No real long range anti-tank is a downer , but i feel that without it the nids seem to play as they should do with the fluff, i.e get in your face and eat, more and more im finding that ymagals are exellent at filling the ranged anti-tank role.

  7. Ymargls are a real neato unit - which I can't ever really justify using because a) their deployment rules let your opponent destroy them too easily b) they are kind of overpriced c) they compete with Zoeys and Hive Guard.

    Mostly c though. I could see one unit, but is it really enough to do enough heavy lifting?

  8. I've grown to like the ymgarls. I normally use 2x2 Hive guard, and 1 squad of 5-10 ymgarls depending on points.
    Their disruption and ability to tie up units is great. If you think you're opponent is going to block their piece of terrain, choice one closer to you, use them as a counter assault or just add to your next wave of attackers.

    The main problem is they don't give nids long range anti-tank because we shouldn't have it. but what we should have is a swarm ability but don't have it. It doesn't matter if you have 10 or 1000 gaunts attack a tank (assuming plain) because S3 doesn't cut it and there is no outnumber/overwhelm ability.

  9. Using stealth to give a cover save to your own units is what I am talking about. It also feeds the fluff bunny in my head that a horde of tyranids is running at you and you shoot the crap out of the first wave only to have the second wave hit you like a ton of bricks. a 3+ cover save for tyranids would make them more viable in my opinion.

  10. What is your take on the stealer shock lists that the make the rounds over at the ETC then? From what I understand they were tailor made to take on mechanized guard.

  11. As long as you're giving them stealth, you might as well give the shooty bugs BS4 across the board, and the fighty ones WS4. I was never so disappointed as when I saw Mawloc and Carnifexes had a measly WS3, and that the Tyranno couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Some melt weapons (say, as an option on the flame-thrower bug or warriors) wouldn't hurt, either.

  12. Stealth? Lictors have Stealth. So do Rippers.

    The problem with Tervigons is that they are expensive, crappy fighters, and create super-Termagants, which then expose them to No Retreat wounds. I think there's an argument to be made that Tyranids are thought to suck precisely because Tervigons hobbled Tyranid armies more than they help.

    The expensive part is self-explanatory. Super-Termagants are worthless because they're still Termagants, meaning that they're slow, can't shoot worth beans, and don't have enough attacks. And they need to be within 6" for the Brood Primogenitor effect, with leads to multi-charges.

    You're better off with large units of small bugs, particularly Gargoyles, with the relevant upgrades internal to the units. Tyranids genuinely work when you play them on the package, using large units of infantry with a few small supports. They're not an MSU army.

    You can give Warriors BS4 with a Prime (also catches Missile fire well), they already have WS5, with WS6 on Lictors and Genestealers, and dual Scything Talons make Trygons hit 88% of the time and Carnifexes 75% of the time, with single Scything Talons making Hormagaunts hit 58% of the time with 3 attacks on the charge, which is essentially double the hits of Termagants on the charge.

    Plus Tyrannofexes hit with at least one Rupture Cannon shot 75% of the time and both 25% unless they're taking the Acid Spray. Likewise Pyrovores give the opportunity of a heavy flamer with their Flamespurt, and they don't even need Synapse.

    Termagants also have Stranglewebs, with are kind of useless until you lay down three templates on a unit in cover, pin them, and then charge without the initiative penalty.

    Warriors already have Barbed Stranglers which can also be taken on Mycetic Spores if you're dropping Termagants with Devourers (which are awesome, and a great points-filler for a beginner army).

    Basically Tyranids have the tools, but they aren't Space Marines, at all. Which is going to be difficult to handle if you're a beginner and just used to Space Marines.

  13. @ chambers; From my understanding, the ETC you essentially get to pick your opponent. Stealer shock can work, and against guard who don't have fast vehicles I can see swarming them with stealers as being more viable. I would say large amounts of stealers would be the next viable option after tervigons.

    @2501; I'll agree to a point. I was very disappointed when The Tyrant only had Bs3 or the carnifex had Ws3, but I don't think as much stuff needs to be raised.

    @nurglitch;I'm not sure I understand the point you are trying to make. Yes tyranids have the tools, but the problem comes that they don't have the proper point cost/codex structure to allow them to take all the tools they need in one list to make an all comers list.
    I personally find Supergaunts very useful and they often kill more than anything else in my list. Reroll to hit and wound, at Init 5 will overwhelm everything. and this is coming from free expendable units? heck yes.
    Lictors and rippers have stealth? so what, they are horrible units and should never really be played. (lictors less so than rippers but really). And then you mention pyrovores and stranglewebs like they are actually useful.

    Your other things I do fully agree with, I just can't tell what you are trying to say. Obviously tyranid are not marines, and this was somewhat meant for people who haven't played before at all, or have been playing for many years and want to build a fun list but not always lose.

  14. lmao - I just read/saw the pic. Classic!

    I still like Purg's idea of having move through cover count as assault grenades; my fixes would be that, drop 20 points on the MCs, let lictors function like ymgarl and assault the turn they arrive, and tweak burrowing so it's actually a worthwhile strategy, like webway portals or DOA.

  15. Yep, those are all things I've been saying for years.

  16. @thegravemind: I guess my point was that Tyranids have the tools that are needed to be successful and even overwhelming. Lictors, Rippers, Pyrovores, and Strangleweb Termagants are all useful units. Lictors and Pyrovores, for example, can assault units in cover. Rippers give cover cheaper than Termagants and work great contesting objectives, while Stranglewebs, like Devourers, enable Termagants to do something more than act as free assault-wounds for attacking armies. There's a reason why they're 'free' with a Tervigon: they're a liability most of the time unless you're playing someone clueless.


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