Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hive Fleet Ragnorok - Ender of Worlds

by Anonymous Foodie

One of my earliest "all painted" shots - a paltry scouting force in comparison to the full swarm

Tonight I finally broke out the Tyranids for their first bout of 6th edition.  The first meal?  Necrons.

Now I'm not sure what the "internet consensus" is about Necrons in 6th, and they're one of the armies that I have the least experience with... this tends to mean a lot of "and what exactly does that mean?" moments throughout the game.  As such, I'm not the absolute best judge of the 'tournament worthiness' of the book, but from what I do know they seem to be a viable force on the table.

I was less concerned with what was across from me, and more with how individual units performed (and, of course, the army as a whole).

The list?  2000 points of chitinous goodness.

Hive Tyrant - Heavy Venom Cannon, Armored Shell (2+)
Tyranid Prime - Deathspitter, Bonesword/Lashwhip

Hive Guard x3
Hive Guard x3
Zoanthrope x2, Spore Pod

Warriors x5 - Deathspitters
Hormagaunts x20 - Adrenal Glands (FC)
Tervigon - Catalyst
Termagants x20

Ravener x3 - Rending Claws

Carnifex (Screamer Killer) - Bio-Plasma
Biovore x2

I wanted to try out a few units that haven't hit the board in a long time.  I also need a proper Tervigon model (instead of proxying my Carnifex) so I can run the 'fex that I've been wanting to try (with an HVC to compliment the Tyrant).  I opted to pull out the Screamer Killer, because I at least wanted to have a 'fex on the board for MC saturation, and to see if the ol' boy would make a mark on the new stomping ground.

The Raveners I likewise haven't taken out of the box in quite a while.  When they first hit the book, I loved that they had Ld 10, and could act as an outflanking unit.  Now that Feed (ie, Rage) isn't a death sentence (and in fact can be a boon) means that they can still fill that role (although at some risk, due to low Ld).  Plus the new Beast movement rules are pretty juicy, so it's hard to pass up at least trying them out for a few games.

So how did everything fare?

To start, I swapped out every psykic power in sight.  The Tyrant and the Tervigon both rolled on Biomancy, while the Zoanthropes tried out Telepathy (hoping for puppet master).  I lucked out on some, while others fell a bit flat (although that's the risk you take with random powers).  The Tyrant and Tervigon both pulled Hemorrhage, which I went ahead and kept as opposed to Smite, since an effective S3 shot that ignores armor and cover isn't the worst thing to come your way (especially when it can spread).  The Tervigon pulled Endurance (catalyst on crack, as I like to call it), while the Tyrant got Warp Time.  Pretty much perfect for their respective roles.

Both Zoanthropes ended up with Terrify (the 'you're not fearless anymore' power), and some other flub that I swapped for Psykic Screech.  I guess they both just wanted to be scary.  I'm rather a fan of Screech, though, since it ignores cover, so I don't mind as much their having less chance of getting a really solid power from the chart.

The game was "Eat the Buffet", with Hammer and Anvil (read; Sideways) Deployment.  We opted to do terrain in the 'd3 per section' method, and threw in a couple pieces of battlefield debris and some archeotech to flavor it up a bit.

Now, onto the units themselves.

The Tyrant served me extremely well, which feels great, as it's a wondrous model in feel and fluff, and I've spent a fair amount of time converting both of mine (well, a lot of that time is in progress, but still).  Combined with Endurance, the Tyrant finished the game at full strength (and actually only ever took one wound, thanks to the 2+ save being so potent in combat).  Warp Time is wonderful for Challenges, as I was able to Smash Attack the necron overlord for insta-gibb purposes, and still had a decent handful of dice to roll in the process.  The HVC grabbed a hull point, and I can appreciate the range - but after seeing it on the table I'm inclined to try out the Flyer.  I think the 2+ save is the saving grace of this build, and is not to be scoffed at.  The other thing to keep in mind is that having HVC's as viable anti-tank allows the zoanthropes to drop warp lance, or to be dropped from the list completely.
In short, not a bad build, but I want to experiment with others.

The Prime and Warrior unit basically acted as it normally does.  Support for the hormagaunts (they're still running together, such good buddies they are), and a more durable scoring unit.  The prime does allow for some potential wound allocation shenanigans (combined with Endurance to remove wounds it's even better), and would be a nasty Challenger.  In this game they didn't do much more than divert the attention of the monolith, but then again I still had one (severely wounded) warrior at the end, so they kept that floating behemoth busy.

The Hive Guard performed admirably.  They still do what they always have done, except glancing hits are meaner.  And mass S8 fire loves to glance things.  They will remain a staple in my lists.

Good for brain blasts and headbutts.

The Zoanthropes weren't able to do much this game... although with 12" range powers, I really shouldn't have dropped them in the backfield with no support.  One screech went off, which would have been a wound or two had I not been facing Necrons (I rolled a 10 - average).  Then they got charged by immortals.  A 3++ is good, but not that good.

It slices, it dices, and re-rolls 1's!

Hormagaunts I've long used as a cheap shield unit in conjunction with my Warriors.  They support each other, often go after the same target, and together overwhelm it.  I opted to try upgrading them (a more expensive prospect than with any other gaunt), and in this game it wasn't really worth it.  In truth, I think I even forgot to apply the Strength bonus when I charged.  By that time, though, I was only looking at about 8 gaunts anyway.  The prospect of S4 vs AV10 has me infatuated with Adrenals on my gribblies, but with the higher cost to upgrade Hormagaunts I may just shave the points.

The Tervigon was another highlight within the army.  Endurance is an amazing power for Tyranids, with the amount of multi-wound units that can benefit from It Will Not Die (of course, any vehicle-heavy army can say the same, but it would seem that more vehicles will drop in a turn than a 15-wound unit with allocation tricks would).  Of course, this power won't always be in effect.  Still, making termagants a force to be reckoned with was enough of a boon.  I opted not to spawn, to reduce the potential for easy VP's, and the original brood never died off, which meant I didn't really need to anyway.  As it turns out, poisonous, furious charging gaunts are still nasty.

And you thought snakes on a plane were bad...
The Raveners could have really done some damage... had I remembered to charge.  As you can tell, this was a really, really competitive setting and I was on my A-game at all times.  That said, in hindsight I think a better option for them would be to be left in reserves via Deep Strike.  They're liable to come in earlier now, and with Beast movement you can place them a safer distance away, behind some solid cover.  Further, doing this allows for the opportunity to Feed, which will give a harder punch where you need it most.  Clocking in at around the 100 point mark for a brood of three gives a nice, cheap filler unit that has the potential to sway a combat, but is cheap enough to be sacrificed if the need arises.  Even doing nothing but slithering in front of some guns, toting 3 wounds each they sucked up fire from a couple of units before biting it, which bought time for the rest of the swarm to advance.

The Trygon plopped up in prime position to chew through a squad of warriors.  Unfortunately we had to end the game a bit early (bottom of 4) due to time constraints.  I see this beasty being the same ol' beatstick as always.  He can fit the same role as a Ravener brood, except that he's Fearless to boot.  And bigger.  Oh so much bigger.  Yeah, we like having this guy around.

Biovores should have been a dream in this game.  Long range, wounding on 4's, and ignoring armor.  The problem was that there were only two squads of warriors on the board, and one got a 4++ from one of the pieces of Archeotech in the first turn.  I still like them, and feel that they add a lot of utility to the mix.  They're also cheap enough to be easily included.  Time will tell, though, if they maintain a regular spot in the list.

He just wants to cuddle, promise!
And who can forget this lovely?  One day I'll get a picture that doesn't involve a dark basement and too much flash.  I decided to throw back to the old days and do the traditional Screamer Killer (Bio-plasma and all).  After all, a short ranged plasma cannon (with no Get's Hot, thank you) isn't a terrible option.  Unfortunately it didn't do too much for me, but that was really due to the target unit (Lych Guard with those fancy 4++ shields).  Likewise, mass S5 power weapons still hurt.  I charged him into the same unit as the Tyrant to try to cut down some 'bots while the Tyrant challenged the Overlord.  Really not the best use, but being a light-on-transports army meant there weren't a lot of vehicles for me to munch.  Particularly because the long ranged guns were further backfield, due to the deployment type. 
I think keeping this guy cheap (if you can consider 170 base cheap) may work for a combat monster, but running toward armor still has some issues (especially when Hive Guard, HVC's, and podding 'thropes are still viable mid to long range answers).  I think the 'fex will really shine acting as a gunboat.  Devilfexes (twin sets of Devourers) are a death sentence to most things within 18".  They're another glance-machine vs light infantry, one of the few semi-reliable answers we have to Flyers, put out some scary overwatch fire, and still pack a punch in combat, particularly against vehicles or lone characters. 
That said, the question is still going to be "will those points not be better spent on another Trygon, or a swarm of Gaunts to eat through infantry?"  While the 'fex can add a veritable boatload of firepower, it's still competing with some big players.  The Trygon is typically going to still trump this guy in combat, and is better at getting there to boot.  The 'fex adds a more versatile unit, capable of a number of solid load-outs at range, while still bringing a sledgehammer to the party.  Options must be weighed, of course, and testing will tell if this jack-of-all will be up to snuff.


  1. Necrons can be tough, they go down to combat, but their resilience can rival ours and make our war of attrition more difficult.

  2. Agreed - Getting to hop back up even against MC's and the like now is a pain, but I can't begrudge them their trademark. Running down the unit (or just finishing it off in general) is the way to go as far as I'm concerned.

  3. I like how 6th seems to favor my preferred style of play, which is Highlander. I really like your list and I think you have the perfect 2x unit in your Hive Guard.

    I would stick to the 6 wound MCs(besides Tyrants), the fexes should not have gone up so radically in price.

  4. Hey I recognize that army....

    Good pictures there!

    1. Haha, quite right... if I don't have the right picture tucked away on photobucket, I try to track down those. I really do need to update my photos, though, both armies have changed drastically since these were taken.


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