Sunday, December 14, 2014

Anyone Have A Can Opener? Tyranids and the Challenge of Killing Armour

The revival of the Tyranid version of the drop pod, the Tyrannocyte, has brought tears of joy to many a 'Nid player.  But why?  For me at least, it once more gives the Hive Mind a chance to kill enemy armour without resorting to a Flying Circus or marching Dakkafexes.  Let's take a look at how the 'Nids chances of killing those iron boxes has changed.

So how did Tyranids effectively deal with armour before the arrival of Tyrannocytes?  Well, if you look at the shooting component, we pretty much were a one trick pony.  Can you say Flyrant?  Yep, that is really about it.  Twelve twin-linked Devourer shots at S6 has a fair chance of glancing something to death.  That is, if you're not shooting at Armour 13/14.   Rupture Cannons?  Seriously?  You only have a 50% chance to hit for starters.  Then if you do hit, with that amazing AP4, you can snap off a glance...woohoo!  No chance of killing anything.  Heavy Vemon cannons?  Sorry.  That is a S9 blast with AP4.  Maybe some Shock Cannons (with Haywire) from Hive Guard...not.  24" range doesn't get you much even if you survive the long walk across a board loaded with shooting and other distractions.  And we are talking BS3.  Oh, and it's a Blast weapon.  How 'bout a couple of Dakkafexes with those twin-linked Devourers?  Again, we have to walk these slow moving buddies across a battlefield that will enjoy shooting them to death before they get to within that awesome 18" range.

What about assault?  Fexes would be amazing, especially with Crusking Claws.  They could pretty easily take out a Land Raider or Monolith.  Wait..I'm actually playing a competent opponent who won't let those bad boys anywhere close to these vehicles?  And as mentioned before, they do have to make it all the way across the board.  And, my opponent has to actually stand still for the 4 turns it will take me to get there.  Surprisingly, one of my most effective tank killers have been Adrenal Gland Hormaguants.  Most opponents don't see them as a threat to their armour, until they are pounding on the door after a successful assault.  Glancing to death anyone?  Sure, there may be a few other Jack-In-The-Box MCs that could get within assault range, but the relatively low number of attacks they have combined with the changes in Smash make there chance of even glancing anything to death relatively low.

We are of course, talking here about Armour 12, not 13/14.  Against them Tyranids are all but helpless.  Wait a minute, Dan!  You haven't mentioned Zoanthropes.  What about Zoanthropes?  Sure, I'll bite on that one.  S10 Lance with AP2.  Not bad.  However, like so many of their broodmates, they must slowly walk across the board and wait to get within 18".  Most of my opponents make the extra effort to shoot them off the board on that long trip.  Moveover, I could only have 3 in a brood.

So that is pre-Tyrannocyte.  7th Edition combined with changes in the Nid dex.  So what has changed? EVERYTHING!!!  We now how so many viable options.
- Zoanthropes.  Can be dropped well within range of their targets.  Also, we are talking about broods of up to six models.  This can get a bit pricey (almost 400 pts), but damn, this crew could probably take down a Superheavy!  You would, of course, have to put some gribblies between them and the enemy to avoid assault nastiness.  Note:  I am confused by interweb commentary regarding the Neurothrope.   People are saying the Neuro can take down a few models with its psychic attack to gain a few extra psychic dice, then use those for the Zoanthrope Warp Blasts.  How does that work?  Are they not upgrade characters and still part of the original unit?  So wouldn't they have to shoot at the vehicle the rest of the brood is targeting?  Most importantly, they can target armour 13/14 vehicles.

- Dakkafexes.  These fun fellas are back.  No tromping across the board any more.  They can once again drop in, smile, and let loose with those Devourers. 
- Hive Guard.  I know, BS3 sucks.  I agree.  Also, Blast weps at BS3 are not so reliable.  But 4-5 of these guys can unleash an impressive number of Haywire shots from Shock Cannons, and we are looking at glance/pen on a 2+.  Three of those and your precious vehicle is wrecked.  That 18" range doesn't matter so much.  By the way, these fellas are survivable.  No Instant Death with their toughness 6...drop them in cover (which they ignore when shooting) and it's a fun day at the beach.  Best of all, with Haywire, you don't have to worry about armour value to glance.
- Raveners.  Drop a decent-sized brood of these dudes in a pod, kitted out with Adrenal Glands, and you are back in close assault business.  They are Beast, so they can move an impressive distance the turn after their arrival.  Tyrannocytes give them a reliable delivery vehicle (compared to Deep Strike). 
- Hormagaunts.  Twenty of these beauties kitted out with Adrenal Glands are going to make someone very nervous. Moreover, like the Raveners, they are quick little devils and can probably keep up with any vehicles trying move out of assault range.  Worth the price of admission to give this a try.
-Exocrine.  We are talking six S7 shots at BS4 the turn after it arrives; assuming it doesn't move that turn.  Those are 5+ glances against Armour 12...and AP2.  A chance to glance armour 13...bonus!

In the case of all the above, with the exception of the Hormagaunts, it would pay to drop in a brood of gribblies to provide some cover and a distraction for their larger brood mates.

So there it is.  Pretty amazing how a single new unit can change the dynamic for an army.  I really don't care that we have to use GWs pods now.  I am willing to make that investment so that my Bugs can be more successful. 

Create, Grow, Feed, Adapt

For Russ and the All-Father!



  1. "People are saying the Neuro can take down a few models with its psychic attack to gain a few extra psychic dice, then use those for the Zoanthrope Warp Blasts. How does that work? Are they not upgrade characters and still part of the original unit? So wouldn't they have to shoot at the vehicle the rest of the brood is targeting?"

    Under 7th Ed Psychic rules different Witchfire powers may shoot different units even coming from the same unit/model, and no longer have any interaction with shooting targets.

    So a Zoan Brood with a Neuro can Spirit Leech a low-Ld unit of infantry, generate some Warp Dice from dealing Wounds, and then use those dice (Spirit Leech generated dice MUST be used to cast Warp Lance/Blast) to Warp Lance a vehicle.

    Also a Hive Tyrant who rolled Warp Lance and (I forget the name of the Nova power) and has Devourers can;

    - (Nova power) a unit close to it.
    - Warp Lance a second unit farther away.
    - Shoot its Dev's at a third unit in the shooting phase.

  2. I am excited about the new pod. I need 3 to return me to my pre 6th army. with the addition of the new units I am pretty excited. Now come the wait till I have the funds to get 3 of them.

  3. Raveners cannot take Adrenal Glands sadly. Besides, nice article!


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