Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tyranids, 7th Edition and the New Psychic Phase


Tyranid_by_JaevulenAfter a year of playing with the new Nid dex and 7th, I am resigned to the fact that the Psychic Phase, at least for my Tyranids, is a sidebar...
Fundamental changes in the psychic rules, I'm sad to say, have affected not only Tyranids, but other armies that made psychic powers an important part of their winning tactics.
You can, and probably will, say I'm whining here.  As you wish.  If, however, you look at the changes in the rules, it is hard to argue that Tyranids are still an army that can make psychic powers an important part of their game.  Sure, you still have powers and you can still use them.  I get that.  Can you use them to make a real difference in a game?  I doubt it.  Let's take a look at the changes and how they have affected Nid armies.  By the way, I know I am not alone here.  Other psyker armies have been affected in a similar.  However, I can only speak to my own experience over the last several months.
ZoanthropesFront
First, we have the change to Shadow of The Warp (STW).  This intrinsic army rule actually made a difference once you got your STW units within range.  It made it much more difficult to not only manifest powers, but to pass any leadership test.  Now, it is only a shadow of its former self (that pun WAS intentional!).  STW now has no affect on a units ability to manifest powers, which no longer relies on leadership.  Sure, it can affect Perils rolls, but seriously, you will lose a wound on 4/6 results anyway.  That is of course IF you roll Perils.  Does it work in synergy with Horror?  Sure.  As long as you are not using it against Fearless units and your Synapse creatures are close enough.  STW is way too situational to be of use on a reliable basis.
gw-psychic-app2
Next we have the significant change to the choices in Powers.  A single list with marginal choices, other than Warp Blast, IMO.  What about the Primaris power, Dominion?  Sure, but you have to use Warp Charges to use the damn thing.  The Norn Crown is a sure thing for just a few points, and doesn't cost Warp Charges.  If I am going to use Charges, given the mechanic of how they work now, I want it to be worthwhile.  Moreover, the Nids are restricted to codex only powers...this is a HUGE disadvantage!  A single discipline to chose from for an army that has several potent psykers in its ranks...go figure!  No Biomancy?  Are freakin' kidding me?  Even the Nids weapons are organic, and the army can't use Biomancy? Catalyst is even nerfed in the Nid dex.  For Nids, it gives FNP to the psyker and a single unit with 12".  For those using Biomancy, Endurance gives a 4+ FNP and Eternal Warrior to a unit within 24".  No Telepathy for an army that uses a form of telepathy to control its minions over countless miles of space?  How does it work that the Nids have powers called Dominion and Psychic Scream, but can't use powers from Telepathy that includes the powers Dominate and Psychic Shriek?  Wait a minute, both those powers are spelled differently...that makes perfect sense!   Warp Blast, although it comes in at 2 Warp Charges, is at least worth the risk/effort, as it is the only reliable shooting attack that Nids have against armour 13/14.
Tzeentch
Now we move on to Warp Charges themselves.  Before, I could reliably manifest 7-8 powers every turn, with a Swarmlord, 2 Zoey broods, a couple of Tervigons and a Hive Tyrant (11 powers available in the pool).  This same bunch now gives me 14 warp charges if I roll a 3 in my Psychic Phase.  To reliably manifest anything but Warp Blast, I be rolling 4 dice, 5 for Warp Blast.  This means I can, as best, manifest 3-4 powers each turn.  That is a huge change for an army that used psychic powers as an important (but not the only) tactic towards winning games.  Does the Neurothrope really make a difference?  Simple answer...No.  So he kills 4 models and adds 4 to my Charge pool...I had to use those 4 to get his power to go off in the first place.   There are, for certain, armies which have thrived in the new Psychic Phase.   The Tzentch Summoning Spam comes to mind right away.  Not only do they have a crap load of Warp Charges, their units can create more units that create more Warp Charges...excellent!  My Tervigons spit out new gribblies (quite reliably I will add), but those little fellas don't add to the Warp pool.
Devil_Cat
OK.  Now I'm done bitching.  It is hard to admit that a part of the rules that truly complemented my army has fundamentally changed.  It is difficult (but not unusual) to see GW make fundamental rules changes that are inconsistent with codex rules and army backstory.  So, like any decent player, I have moved on and found new ways to make my dex work and win games...and I have won several games over the past year (11-4 in 2014).  The return of the Tyranid Drop Pod was certainly welcomed, although I have yet to build and paint enough of them to use.  The rise of the Flyrant (FMCs in general) has been fun to see, as well as my consistent use of waves of gribblies which I happily pull from the table.  Formations have also been a great way to wean myself from psychic powers.  It's just so damn hard to give up something that always worked.
 
How have the changes to Psychic rules affected your play and army over the last year?

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