In the midst of a plethora of Tyranid rumors bubbling up to the surface, I want to stay focused on reality and talk about what Nids can do about Lords of War in the Escalation expansion. It is not a pretty picture…
So let’s take a look at what Tyranids bring to the party. If you look closely at the Nid Weapons Table, you will notice a startling lack of anything better than AP4. There is the Bio-Plasma from a Carnifex at AP2, but that is it! How many armies out there have no medium to long range shooting without AP1 or AP2 weps? Why is this important? It gives those penetrating hits an actual chance to DO something. AP1/2 give a +2/+1 bonus on the Vehicle Damage Chart. The math-hammer sez this increases the chance of a vehicle destroyed from 16% to 33-50%...a HUGE difference.
What does this mean in practical terms? Let’s use the “ferocious” Tyrannofex (I don’t own or use these by the way) as one example. This creature can carry a S10/AP4 weapon. It has a BS of 3. So if I want to take out a Baneblade with their “awesome” ranged weapon, here’s how it rolls out from a math-hammer perspective. 3 Tyrannofexes fire 12 shots over 2 turns. They will hit 6 times, and against armour 14, they will glance 3 times. I spend over 700 points in the current dex to remove 3 hull points in 2 turns. That is truly insane. The chance of taking down a Lord of War with these fellows is essentially zero. You might consider using 9 Hive Guard for around 400 points instead. 36 shots in 2 turns. 24 hit at BS 4. 8 glances. Also 4 penetrates, but no bonus on the Damage Table at AP4. Still, much better. Wait… what if the target has an Eldar “magic” save, or an Invulnerable save? What if it has other opportunities for damage avoidance? The chances to take out the Lord, and obtain the resulting VPs, diminishes quickly. One last go at shooting. How about dropping 3 broods of 3 Zoanthropes in pods next to the villainous monstrousity? They should of course all have Warp Lance. I am only going to give this a single turn, as they will most likely have the attention of your opponent’s entire army the turn after they arrive. This does not bode well for their survival into another turn of shooting. 9 shots at BS4. Let’s just assume they all pass their psychic tests. 6 hits. Because of the Lance rule, we are effectively shooting at AV12. I know only 4 glances, but the 2 penetrates are at +2 on the Damage Table. This means you have a good chance of getting additional hull points removed. The down side of this, as opposed to the Hive Guard, is the chances of losing most of them are pretty high. Instant Kill sucks, even with that 3-up Invulnerable save. Moreoever, the point cost is well over 700 again. Decisions, decisions. Note: Of course ALL of this may change with the new dex…but let’s deal with reality for now.
The remaining issue with the “shooting solution” is what to do about all the other stuff roaming around the table that has an armour value. This returns us to my earlier post regarding how Escalation will change the focus of the game. It will move us away from deployment, movement and tactics.
Let’s get back to the Tyranid perspective. So shooting might not work so well. In fact, for Nids at least, the prospects are pretty bleak. Why not try assaulting a Super-heavy? Yes, we have Carnifexes that can land by pod and Trygons that can pop up near-by. Want to take a guess what the issues are? Yep, a couple I can think of right away. The first; that pesky turn of shooting before the assault. Super-heavies have a pretty impressive arsenal, and a single turn of shooting can brutalize models with only a 3+ save…this does not count the other units in the army. Second, we have to get into base to assault, and the Super-heavy can easily choose to move away 12” and still fire. If they do so, the chances of ever reaching them become quite slim.
For the current Nid player, Escalation will be a very challenging world to exist in. With the new dex out in just a few weeks, this may all change dramatically. If it does, I will be one of the first to pick up the pen and recant my analysis. Either way, I will stay true to the Hive Mind and enjoy the new dex, whatever GW decides to send us.Create, grow, feed, adapt