In this installment, we take a look at medium range (18”-24”) weapons in the Tyranid arsenal. But let’s review before we move on…
with the exception of Bio-plasma, the other 25 ‘Nid 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 weapon is classified as Assault.
OK, on to specifics in the medium range category.
- Impaler Cannon: For me, this is the top wep in this category. S8 with two shots at BS4, range of 24”. The shooter has a toughness of 6 and 2 wounds making them all but immune to instant kill. Line up a unit of three Hive Guard and you get six S8 shots…can you say “glance to death?” That’s not the best part. They ignore cover! Yep, even Kustom Force Fields and Smoke; right from the FAQ. Given the change in the vehicle damage rules, these fellas are quite the threat to Dreads, Predators, Eldar skimmers and most transports. I do not always take them, but they are a very common choice in most of the lists I have seen online. Can only be taken by Hive Guard which fill an Elite slot.
- Brainleech Worms: This is a Big Bug upgrade to the Devourer. Carried mostly commonly by Flyrants and Dakkafexes. This gun is S6 with 6 shots, range of 18”. It can, and should, be twin-linked since the shooters are BS3. Not a choice if you are on a budget. The bugs that carry these are going to point out over 200pts most of the time. More with Wings or with a Spore as a transport option. Also, these Big Bugs can carry two pairs of these things. This is another vehicle killer option. Twelve S6 shots twin-linked are going to hit 8 times per turn on average. That’s lots and lots of glancing love, even against armour 12. Transports and other light vehicles, even tanks, should get nervous when they see a couple of pairs of these on the table. Because of the point investment, they will appear sparingly, but are bound to create a bit of havoc if left unattended to.
- Next on the list is the always fun Devourer. For those unfamiliar with the latest incarnation of this weapon, it is basically a 3 shot assault bolter with a range of 18” and no AP. Doesn’t sound so bad you say? Hold on Sparkey. Lowly Gaunts can upgrage to carry these things. In a Spore that is 20 little buddies pouring out 60 shots per turn! A squad of 30 can deliver 90 shots! Crazy! They are a bit pricey at 10pts/model, but for ‘Nids to have that kind of shooting power is pretty impressive. That kind of firepower can even put a dent in a squad of Marines. The MathHammer sez five dead marines from a single turn of Spore Gaunt shooting.
- Containment Spines: This weapon is unique to the Tyrgon Prime (an upgraded Trygon with synapse). It has a range of 18” and is S5. The nice part is that it is a twelve shot weapon. Not too shabby for clearing out a bit of mob chaff. It won’t floor a squad of guard, but it could cause them to run for cover. The 18” range also gives the shooter a bit of flexibility in terms of target selection. Again, this requires a pretty big investment in points, but if you are going to take a Trygon, I would strongly suggest upgrading to a Prime, in which case the Containment Spines come with the package.
- Stinger Salvo, Deathspitter and Cluster Spines: These are all S5 weps with a range of 18”. Two are 3/4 shot weapons, the Cluster Spines are large template. Carried by a wide variety of bugs including Tervigons, Spores, Warriors, Fexes, Tyrants and Harpys. Since the units that carry these weapons can’t be taken in any useful numbers, they are not really worth considering given the other options available to the units listed above. The exception to this would be if you take them on a large brood of Warriors…but this is basically a fire magnet for S8/9 weps that enjoy instant killing expensive models.
Overall, the choices in the medium range category are much more worth consideration than those in the heavy category. Lots of vehicle killing potential, as well as the ability to create the volume of fire needed to kill MEQ. Considering changes that came with 6th edition, this is IMO the most effective range category for the existing Tyranid codex. I really hope that the designers of the next codex keep the baby and throw out the bath water. I would rather they just throw out almost all ‘Nid long range shooting (keep the Biovores!), refine the mid-range weapon options and redo the short range list. There is some good stuff here. Tyranids need to have the same “codex creep” occur that has taken place with the last several codices in order for them to remain a viable option; in terms of playability, competitiveness and from a business/sales perspective. As stated in my last weapons analysis post…as much as I love the modeling aspect of our hobby, I also like to win once in a while.
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