Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Tyranid Codex - Tyranids Psychic Powers, Better Known As "They're In My Head!"

Here we go again…the guy who actually thinks this codex is playable!  I have two games under my belt; 1 win 1 loss.  The loss was because I took a totally inappropriate army; I was expecting mech and got assault of the worst kind…Blood Angels with Wolf allies…yeesh!  Even then, was pretty close at the end.  You CAN win with this dex.  Learn it.  Play it.  Adapt.  It’s what Tyranids do!

On to some thoughts regarding new psychic rules.  We do have to roll on our army table now, and so far, have no access to BRB powers.  The randomness of this process is now in line with every other army.  As well it should be.  I don’t like not having access to Iron Hand and Endurance, but frankly, a couple of Biomancy powers sucked eggs.  I feel that all of our book powers have some value.

Let’s talk about the powers themselves first, then the units, then some thoughts on use. 

-     The Horror.   This forces an enemy unit to take a pinning test at -2 leadership and has a 24” range.  This means, for example, that most units in the game will be checking for pinning needing to roll a 6 or less.  Pretty impressive.

-     Onslaught.  Range of 24” that allows unit to run and shoot in the same turn.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  I think those pesky Eldar have an army rule that gives this same ability.  If it can work for them, it can work for us.

-     Paroxysm.  24” range.  Reduces target unit BS/WS by D3.  Could come in handy as we are walking ourselves across the board, and more so when closing in for the kill.

-     Psychic Scream.  I love that this thing is Nova. Only 6” range, but every unit in that range takes a 2D6+2 minus their leadership wounds with no armour and no cover.  Go ahead and try to swarm my Swarmlord…boom!

-     Good old Warp Blast.  This really hasn’t changed since the last book, in terms of use on the board.  The Lance is now AP2, but still S10.  Burst is still AP3.  I really like that my Tyrants and Swarmlord have a chance at this.  My Swarmlord had this in a recent game.  Fun for me!

-     Catalyst.  Improved.  Yes, I said improved.  Not only does another unit get FNP, but the psyker’s unit itself.  Have a Tyrant cast this on himself and his Guard and those 3 Fexes.  The brood of pesky Gaunts and the Tervigon both get FNP.  Nice.

-     Dominion (Primaris).  With the emphasis on Synapse in the new dex, this is a great power to have.  It gives an additional 6” to a brainbug’s Synapse range.  A basic psyker can create a 36” bubble of Synapse with this (12” + 6” radius).  The Swarmlord a 48” bubble.  Wow!

-     Shadow in the Warp.  Although this is not a psychic power in the purest sense, it is an army rule that effectively serves as one.  All Synapse creatures cause any enemy psykers within 12” to reduce their leadership my 3!  That’s correct my friends.  It affects any leadership based check an enemy psyker needs to make. A squad of Grey Knights wishing to activate their Force weapons would do so in most cases with a leadership of 6.  Pretty sweet!  If you combine this with Deathleaper’s ability to reduce a characters leadership by D3, this would mean Eldrad might be rolling his powers with an average of Leadership 5!!

Army Psykers…

-     Swarmlord.  Still has the ability to roll 3 times for powers.  I have taken Dominion in my first two games with the new dex.  He has rolled Warp Blast, Scream and Catalyst as well.  A Swarmlord with Warp Blast and Scream is almost broken!  I shot a Burst into a unit of Grey Knights and killed three of them.  Then turned around and used Scream after moving into the middle of a mob of allied Guard.  Not pretty.

-     Tyrant.  This fellow can roll twice on the table. Being a level 2 psyker, he can also use Warp Blast (uses 2 warp charges) if he rolls it.  A Flyrant can really spread havoc as he moves about the board.

-     Zoanthropes.  The major change is that they now have the special rule “Brotherhood of Psykers.”  Also, even though they are level 1, they can still use Warp Blast; it comes as part of their standard kit.  The number of models in the unit determines the number of shots you can take.  ZThropes are a bit cheaper, and even though they can no longer “podcast” onto the board, they are a potent weapon and potential unit buff.  They are able to roll for a second power on the table in addition to Warp Blast.  Since they already have it, you have a 1 in 5 chance of getting something you really want.

-     Tervigons.  These ladies only have access to a single power now (they are level 1), but still can provide much needed Synapse.  Lots of points for a single power, however.  If you take them, consider the Synapse and spawning as primary considerations, with the psyker thing a bonus.  The only power that really makes sense is Dominion unless you roll Catalyst.

Thoughts on Use…

-     The Horror has the potential to lock down threats from a respectable distance.  That mob of Nob Bikers trying to cut up your Broodlord might get pinned down.  Or a squad of enemy Devastators could get locked down and kept from firing.  Lots of possibilities, especially if you have a Flyrant running around the board on a fun psyker tour!

-     Dominion is a no brainer, especially if you don’t get a power you want or can use on the first roll or two.  You can always defer to the Primaris, so if your Zoeys don’t get a good power on their table roll, just bump up their Synapse to 18”.

-     Onslaught might be useful on any unit you are trying to run across the board.  Maybe those 3 Dakkafexes with Adrenal Glands.  They will have fleet, run and shoot, and those 12x18” “bolter” shots.  How about a hybrid brood of shooty/assault Warriors? 12 Deathspitter shots on the way into assault with your Lashwhips and Boneswords.  30 Devilgaunts running and shooting.  Someone would have to pay attention!

-     Psychic Scream is something to take on a model you know is going to end up in the middle of a mob of enemy figs with relatively low leadership.  Each unit within 6” would be taking an average of 3-4 no armour/cover wounds since this power is auto-hit.  Mow them down!

-     Warp Blast is just something anyone is going to want to stay away from.  Even the AP3 blast version of this will smack MEQs around.  The Lance still gets a +1 bonus on the vehicle damage table.  Moreover, this is a power that any psyker could end up with now, not just ZThropes.  A Flyrant with this could fire a Lance into an enemy vehicle and then unload that Dakka for another 8-10xS6 hits (Tyrants are now BS4!).

-     Paroxysm is also a way to both suppress enemy shooting and prep for an assault.  Lowering BS and WS both have their uses, and gives the Nids some flexibility when selecting targets.

-     Finally Catalyst.  As stated earlier, this is now a great unit buff in that it affects the caster and another unit.  My Swarmlord can use it on that brood of Fexes and his own Tyrant Guard.  Combined with Venomthrope cover saves, this might really stretch an enemy’s ability to land enough hits to do any damage.  Add in Regen and those Fexes are now very survivable even when having to slog across the board.

In the next installment I will present a summary of specific things that changed for the better, as well as start breaking down weapons and biomorphs.  At some point we will get to individual units.  I just think that covering the other stuff first, though, will help put capabilities/limitations of individual units in better perspective.

Roll those die like there’s no tomorrow!

Create, grow, feed, adapt

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