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 The Strengths of the New Tyranids

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PostSubject: The Strengths of the New Tyranids   Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:21 pm

by jy2

So far, the early consensus for the new Tyranids is that they've gotten worse. They've lost a lot of their good "stuff" from the previous codex and a lot of their units have actually gotten worse. Some examples of the "nerfs" done to the new Tyranids include:

No more access to the rulebook psychic powers. That means no more Biomancy or Telepathy.

They lost key units like Ymgarl genestealers, mycetic spores and in particular, the Doom of Ma'lantai.

The Instinctive Behaviour table is now more punishing. Whereas before, if you fail the test, you either did nothing or you charged with Rage, now if you fail your IB test, you can actually Fall Back, be Pinned or even take damage!

Key units have gotten worse or more expensive. Examples include tervigons, who are now more expensive, do not have access to Biomancy, cannot buff termagants with Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs anymore, whose explosion will kill gants within 12" instead of the previously 6" and newly spawned gants now cannot move or assault. Gargoyles with Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs are now more expensive than before by 25% and mawlocs can actually Mishap if they don't kill the models that they hit when they come up. Trygons have lost the ability to re-roll hits, Zoanthropes now have the Brotherhood of Psyker special rule and Swarmy is no longer the hard-hitting monster that he used to be. This list goes on.

Scything talons no longer give you re-rolls to hit and boneswords no longer ignore all armour saves.

Tyranids have lost much of their mobiltiy that used to make them so dangerous. Gone are the Mycetic Spores. Gone are the Ymgarls. Now you practically have to footslog the new bugs. By losing their mobility, Tyranids have also lost a lot of flexibility.

But enough with the negativity. This article isn't about the forecasted doom and gloom about the new Tyranids. As a competitive player, my natural tendency is look to the strengths of the army and I am actually liking what I see. I think that tyranids do have the building blocks for a good army. How good that army will be remains to be seen, but I feel that new tyranids may surprise some people. So how have the new Tyranids gotten better?

Part I - The Strength of the Tyranids


Psychic Powers:
Most will see the loss of Biomancy and other rulebook powers as a large detriment. However, the Tyranid psychic powers really aren't that bad. Catalyst is a gem and perhaps the best Tyranid psychic power. The Horror is actually great against non-Fearless units with lower Leaderships (think Riptides and such). Onslaught gives them some extra range. Paroxysm is useful against shooty armies and Psychic Scream can turn any unit into a mini-Doom of Ma'lantai. Finally, Warp Blast is now available not only to Zoanthropes, but to Tyrants and the Swarmlord as well. Tyranid psychic powers are actually quite good and that helps to lessen the sting of losing Biomancy.

Regeneration on a Tyranid monstrous creature is amazing now. Before, you only regenerate on a roll of a 6. Now, you regenerate 1 Wound each turn on a 4+! Now I don't recommend Regeneration on every TMC (Tyranid Monstrous Creature) in the army, but definitely for key units like a Tervigon or maybe even your flyrants.

Tyranid Melee Weapons:
While tyranids have lost the ability to re-roll hits (or re-roll 1's to hit) with the scything talons, now almost any pair of melee weapons can combine to give them +1 Attack. So that meanst the dual boneswords by the Swarmlord gives him 5 Attacks now compared to 4 before. 2 scything talons, scything talons + rending claws, scything talons + crushing claws or even scything talons + boneswords (or bonesword + lashwhips) will give +1 Attack. Base units that benefit from this (assuming they don't trade in their melee weapons for shooting attacks) include the Swarmlord, hive tyrants, lictors and the Deathleaper. Moreover, most TMC's can take a tail biomorph for an extra attack.

Reduced Costs:
With a few exceptions, the majority of the Tyranid units have gone down in cost. Some of them have even gone down substantially. For example, the Tyrannofex with Rupture Cannon is 60-pts cheaper than before. Flyrants with twin-linked devourers and mawlocs are down 30-pts and the base carnifex is down 40-pts! More importantly, Tyranid gribblies such as termagants and hormagants have gone down in points for their base costs. Now, both hoard Tyranids and Nidzilla builds have become more viable.


Wow....these guys are amazing! They are going to be the cornerstone of every competitive Tyranid army and you will see two of them. They are now 30-pts cheaper than before for a winged tyrant with dual twin-linked brainleech devourers. Moreover, they are now Ballistic Skill 4 (compared to BS 3 in the previous edition) and Mastery Level 2 psykers as well!

Old One Eye:
While never a great unit, he has come down by 40-pts in this edition.

Tyrant Guards:
Tyrant Guards are the same as before. The only difference is that they are cheaper by 10-pts each now. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Lash Whips have been nerfed. Now, they don't lower the Initiative of the opponent. Instead, they only increase the Initiative of the bearer.


The tervigon has been nerfed in every which way. They've gone up in price, they no longer have access to Biomancy, they can no longer buff nearby termagants with their biomorphs, a dead tervigon kills gants in a 12" radius (instead of 6") and they now require you to purchase 30 termagants in order to make them a troop choice. Of all the units in the new codex, tervigons are probably the units that were hit the hardest with the nerf bat. However, despite all of that, they are still a necessity in a Tyranid army, both as a durable beacon of synapse and as a troop generator as well. You won't see players spam tervigons anymore like they used to. However, you will still see most competitive lists run at least 1 tervigon, maybe even 2.

By the ways, tervigons have improved in 2 areas. The first is that regeneration does make them now more survivable. The 2nd is that they are now Initiative 2 and a little more survivable to Jaws of the World Wolf.

They are now cheaper. A unit of 30 termagants costs 30-pts less than before. They are also more customizable with their guns. However, the drawback is that they no longer benefit from the Adrenal Gland and Toxin Sac upgrades of a tervigon. Instead, they have to pay for those biomorphs, which are now double the costs of the previous edition. In any case, they will be the building block for troops in a competitive Tyranid list.

Same with the termagants. The base price of each hormagant has gone down. However, the cost of their biomorphs have gone up. Slightly cheaper if you run them naked or with Adrenal Glands, but once you throw in Toxin Sacs, the cost becomes the same as the previous edition.


The Venomthrope is a gem in this edition. It's cost has gone done by 10-pts. However, its major improvement is that now it has and gives all friendly Tyranids within range Shroud. So deploy your MC's near it behind terrain and instead of a 5+ cover as was in the previous edition, now you are looking at 3+ cover, with 2+ cover behind ruins. He is going to be a must-buy for any and all Tyranid Nidzilla builds.

Still not a great unit, but they are cheaper by 15-pts each. In addition, now they get +1 Attack due to scything talons and rending claws and it's got Fear and Infiltrate.

The Zoanthrope has become both better and worse in this edition. The Brotherhood of Psykers rule is definitely a minus as now, a single successful Deny the Witch can stop all of their shooting. However, on the plus side, a mindstrike missile will only cause 1W to the Zoans even if it hits multiple models within the unit. But the real improvement here is that they are now 10-pts cheaper and are Level 2 psykers. I see competitive players running units of 1 zoanthropes as cheap beacons of synapse and unit-buffers/force-multipliers.

Fast Attacks

They actually got nerfed in the new edition. The base cost remained the same. However, their biomorphs have now doubled in price. Despite the price increase, they are still a viable unit and I still see many Tyranid players running them. Lots of them. Flyrants and gargoyles still make a good combo.

Tyranid Shrikes:
Still not a great unit, but it is worth pointing out that they are now 5-pts cheaper per, and their biomorphs - Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs - are cheaper as well. So a unit of 5 Shrikes with scything talons, rending claws, adrenal glands and toxin sacs are now 40-pts cheaper than before and in addition, they get +1 Attack for having rending claws and scything talons. Maybe worth considering for a mobile source of synapse other than a flyrant.

Still not a great unit, but with a 30-pt discount for a TL-heavy venom cannon Harpy, it is worth considering, especially in a Tyranid Airforce build.

Hive Crone:
This guy shows a lot of promise. 4 36" haywire shots (twin--linked against other flyers) and S8 vector-strikes? Hell yeah! He needs some playtesting, but on paper, he looks like a winner.

Heavy Supports:

Ladies and gentlemen....we have a winner! Carnifexes will herald the return of Nidzilla, potentially one of the most competitive builds in the codex. They are 40-pts cheaper per carnifex! That means you can potentially see competitive Tyranid players run 9 of them barebones in a list! Give them 2 TL-brainleech devourers and you've got a pretty effective shooter. Finally, you can give them some tail biomorphs for some more close combat killiness. Overall, you can expect tyranids builds to shift more towards carnifex-builds rather than the tervigon-spam of yesterday's bugs.

Are you kidding me? The unit that I have loved ever since 4th Ed. tyranids have just gotten better. No, they've actually gotten much better. How so? They are now 5-pts cheaper per and....get this....they now have +1 Wound, +1 Initiative and +1 Attack!!! But it gets even better. The spore mines that they launch are now much deadlier as well. Now if the blast misses, instead of placing 1 spore mine under the blast marker, you place D3 mines instead! Thus, a unit of 3 biovores can potentially create 9 spore mines!!! Unlike before, where the spore mines moved randomly, now you can actually control where they move. And now for the cherry on top, they don't just explode at S4. Rather, they explode at S4 +1 for each additional mine in the cluster. Thus, they can potentially explode at S10!!! Wow!

Every competitive list should contain at least 1 unit of biovores, and I wouldn't be surprised to see people running 3x3 of them at all.

Like the zoanthrope, this is another unit that has gotten both better and worse at the same time. Probably the most attractive feature of the mawloc is its price tag...they're now 30-pts cheaper! However, where they got hit hard is in their primary attack, the Terror from the Deep. Now when they come out on top of a unit, if they don't wipe out the models in contact with them, then they actually Mishap! WTF?!? On the bright side, their Terror attack can potentially hit twice at AP2 and ignores cover. Moreover, when they get misplaced from the mishap, they can always use their Burrow rule to go back into reserves to try again next turn. Overall, I actually like this unit.

While this guy was never really a competitive unit, his 60-pt price drop for the Rupture Cannon version makes him a very attractive buy. Give him regen and he becomes the most durable ground unit in the Tyranid codex. Definitely worth considering. Back in 5th, I ran the T-fex along with 2x3 biovores to some great success. I think I will have to revisit that build.

Another intriguing new character, he gives the Tyranids their main source of AP 2 shooting. He's not even the greatest unit in the Heavy Support slots, but I can see players running 2-3 of these guns as mobile gun platforms. With a venomthrope and the Regen biomorphs, they can be very durable shooters.

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PostSubject: Re: The Strengths of the New Tyranids   Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:01 pm

Warmonger, thanks for posting this. When the new codex was released, I pretty much set my nids on the shelf. I was very disappointed in the the elimination of units, especially the mycetic spores and the restriction to only codex psychic powers. I had built and painted 6 custom spores Sad This review gives me a little hope that I may try them again but right now I am trying to get my CD competitive.

I don't think the Biovore S10 is easily achievable. If you have a brood of 3, they all produce have to produce 3 bombs. With movement 3" and charge and run of 1/2 distance rolled, I just don't see that happening practically in a game. Especially, when you consider a scatter roll. You also have to have a complete miss - no targets under the blast to place the bombs. Otherwise, it is resolved at S 4 AP 4 as a normal blast. Either way, the article gave me a different perspective on a army I used to enjoy playing in 6th.
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