Tyranid Long Range Weapons
Time to take a look at the shooting potential of the Tyranids. I am breaking this series into three parts...long (>24”), medium ((18”- 24”) and short (<18”) range weapons…the range classifications are of my own making to simplify things a bit. This installment will deal with long range.
As prologue, let’s mention some “unique” aspects of their arsenal. First, with the exception of Bio-plasma, the other 25 weapon choices have a grand total of ZERO with an AP below 4! It is indeed a fact. Moreover, not a single weapon choice has a range greater than 48”. On the positive side, EVERY ‘Nid shooting weapons is classified as Assault.
OK, on to specifics in the long range weapon category.
- Rupture Cannon: This is the only S10 wep in the ‘Nid arsenal…of course it is AP4. It can only be carried by a 250pt model that has BS3 and shoots twice a turn. Are you freakin’ kidding me?! With all of the crazy ways to avoid being hit in 6th Edition, the statistical chance of this weapon even getting a shot at the vehicle damage table is laughable. The mathhammer says there is a 5.5% chance of destroying an undamaged vehicle (AV12) that is in the open in a single turn of shooting. For 250 pts?! No thank you. That is of course not considering the chances drop below 3% if the vehicle has any kind of cover. What a deal!
- Heavy Venom Cannon/Venom Cannon: At S9 and AP4, this weapon can be carried by several of the larger Tyranid MCs as a 25pt upgrade. Of course the models themselves all cost 150-200pts base. OK, so what’s the problem with this one? Besides the fact that most of those who can carry it are at BS3, it is a small template blast weapon and fires a single shot. Any MEQ should be running for the hills in fear of this bad boy…not! OK you say, it can still pen vehicles, right? Sure. Of course there is that special little rule for this one that gives it a -1 on the vehicle damage table if the vehicle is not open topped. That would reduce to ZERO the chance of destroying a vehicle with it (assuming it is not low on hull points). The regular Venom Cannon is nearly as deadly with S6 and AP4. The only things it can really kill are horde units of infantry, and those are best defeated with volumes of fire not strength of fire. For the point cost, as with the Rupture Cannon, this is another loser.
- Stranglethorn Cannon/Barbed Strangler: Finally, something I can work with…sort of. S6/S4 and an AP of 5. But it’s a large blast template. Not terrible. The units that can carry these are BS3. At least I can toast a few more models as long as they are horde units traveling in the open. They also offer Pinning. The down side is once again that only expensive models can carry these thingys.
- Spore Mine Launcher: Now here is something that is point cost effective in the long range category. This fires a Spore Mine which is a S4, AP4 large template blast. It is also a barrage weapon. The unit that can fire these is only a miserly 45pts. In groups of three I am putting out 3 large blasts a turn. This can become very problematic for large groups of cheap models in the open…Guard, Cultists, Orks, e.g. They do take up a Heavy slot in my org chart, but depending on who I am fighting, this is the one long range weapons option that can be point effective.
I keep mentioning the point costs. The reason I do this is that the ‘Nids have better options at shorter ranges with larger volumes of fire for their MCs. Over time, and particularly with 6th Edition, I have come to appreciate the value of volumes of effective fire at reasonable strength and AP. Point costs have meaning, and they drive the way we build our lists as we play. To waste large blobs of points on weapons that at first glance may seem impressive, but in reality are point sinks in regards to return on investment, is to fail to appreciate the change in the meta of the game. If I can take 20 Devilgaunts in a Spore that can deliver 60 bolter shots per turn, why spend money on any of the above weapon options?
I base these observation, of course, on my own understanding of the game. But as much as I love the modeling aspect our hobby, I also like to win once in a while.
Thanks for taking the time to listen to my rantings. Feel free to comment.