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New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...
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Old 09 Jun 2005, 20:36   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...

My wife has decided that she likes bugs, and wants to make a tyrannid army. *As anyone else who is married will attest, it's generally wise to keep wives happy, so I signed up at the local GW store to have them reserve one of the army boxes for us.
We've played a couple of games with proxy models so far, so here's what I've noticed. *

What they got:

Hive Tyrant:
Unless it has wings, it isn't all that fast, so it isn't a big priority. *Other stuff will get to you sooner and tie you up in combat (or outright kill you), so shoot anything faster first. * Hive Tyrants will go down to mass bolter fire + divine guidance. *No matter what upgrades they put on it, they cannot make it tough enough to stop a bolter and AP1 will get you enough wounds if you fire with a decent-sized unit.

If they use a winged tyrant, then it's going to speed the whole army up, as the synapse will move along with the faster bugs. *Since it's going to hit your lines just as soon as they will in this case, it should become the priority. *If the nid player is investing the points into wings for their tyrant, they're going to be planning on having that fast moving synapse node, so if you can get rid of it early, you can hope to stall much of their attack.

This guy is a lot more of a problem, for a couple of reasons. *First, he infiltrates, with a squad of genestealers. *These guys will hit your lines incredibly fast - assaulting on the first turn is not an unreasonable expectation if you don't keep lines of sight to the likely infiltration spots. * Secondly, this guy is a synapse creature who can start downfield. *Lots of tyrannids are now considered broods, and can no longer mutate hive nodes, so they need to be kept within 12 inches of a synapse guy. *The broodlord can start downfield, allowing the smaller bugs to use their speed, being "passed off" from a synapse creature in their deployment zone to the broodlord. *Thirdly, he's not a monstrous creature, so you may have problems targetting him due to independent character rules - if he doesn't take a retinue.

Yeah, he's a problem because of his early-game positioning and what that adds to their army. * So far, my best suggestion for dealing with him is to cover likely infiltration spots, and use some auspexes to deter such behavior.


Like the hive tyrant, these guys are slow. *They can shoot, but not as well as you can, so the big priority would still be on stuff that can assault you later. *And, like the tyrant, they will go down to just about anything you field, massed bolters or heavier stuff.

Warriors - See above
Small carnifexes - See below
With their ability to assault the turn they deepstrike, they can really mess up your firing lines, which buys turns for the other bugs to close on your positions. * However, they are limited in their choices for where to deploy. *Tyranid shooting does not have the capability to bypass power armour, so there is no real benefit to staying in cover.

If you possibly can, stay 12 inches from any area terrain (ok, not too likely), and you'll get to shoot it before it assaults you. *If not, try to fill out the area terrain you're in. *If the lictor scatters outside of terrain, it gets places within the boundaries of that terrain piece. *If you can fully occupy the whole of the terrain, it cannot deepstrike into it without being guaranteed to lose it (I think - I don't have the codex with me right now). * You want to do as much as you can to deny him safe places to deepstrike near you, whether that be avoiding those locations yourself, or completely occupying them.

If the lictor gets to assault you, its rending claws will pretty much mean it will win the combat, and you can lose an entire squad because of its high initiative. *As always, a book of st. lucius is some insurance against that happening, but the turns that you lose shooting the advancing bugs because you're tied up with a lictor can spell doom for the rest of your army. *

Finally, an allied daemonhunter inquisitor with a mystic in his retinue, and some good long-range servitors will make the lictor's job of deepstriking somewhere relevant much harder.

Without a doubt, the number one must kill target. *They're extremely fast, if tooled up right, and you're going to lose a lot of troops if they hit your lines. *They're fast for a couple of reasons. *First - they get to fleet. *So do other nids though... *What makes them faster. *Well, they also can take "scuttlers" which allows them a scout move before the first turn. *On a typical table with deployment zones 24 inches apart, that means the genestealers can effectively start only 18 inches from your deployment zone. *Finally, they don't need a synapse creature, which means they can charge full-speed ahead without worrying about the hive tyrand or warriors who only move six inches/turn.

Fortunately, genestealers die to bolter-fire. *Even if they paid the extra points for a +1 armour save, they're still minced by heavy bolters, and a 4+ save against lots of bolters isn't all that good.

If they make it into combat, watch out, like the lictor, they get a lot of attacks, they rend, and they have ridiculously high WS and I stats, so they go first, and they're hard for your girls to hit.

Little bugs with guns, how cute. *Even with the ability to get the 'without number' upgrade, they never made a huge difference in the games we played. * Like genestealers, they can take scuttlers for a scout move, but this is much less effective for them as they have to maintain synapse distance. * Outside synapse range, they're next to useless, with a horribly low LD. * They're going to try and shoot you, which is ok, considering nothing they can take will beat your armour. *If they assault, you have a better chance of winning the combat. *If they're in synapse range at the time, they'll hold you up long enough for the synapse creature to join the fight themselves, otherwise, they're as good as gone.

More dangerous than shooty bugs because they've got an increased assault range and an increased ability in combat, so they'll actually tie you up instead of stopping short and shooting. *Still synapse creatures, so their speed is mitigatedby the speed of the synapse creatures, but still, shoot any that will be able to charge the next round. *From what I read, the check for synapse movement is only made at the beginning of the tyrannids move phase, so if they start 11 inches from the synapse, they can actually charge you 12+d6 inches further out than that. *Not as bad as genestealers, but make sure you don't get locked in combat.

Ripper swarms
They're not going to fleet, so they're a bit slower, but as with most bases, they'll tie you up if they get to you. * They cannot be given rending anymore, but they can get wings or leaping, for a bit more speed. *They're not synapse based, and as they have a lot of wounds, they can operate pretty well without support. *As the tyrannid player, I'd use them to target any units that my opponent had deployed outside the focus of the main assault.

Fast Attack
They're beasts, so they're fast. *They can also deepstrike, but doing so outside synapse range will hurt them, so you don't have to worry too much about that unless his synapse nodes are already in your lines (in which case, you've probably already lost). *They're like hormagaunts in how you treat them, although they're bigger instead of more numerous. *

Like genestealers in terms of threat. *They won't do as much when they hit you, but they'll tie you up so you can't shoot the rest of the horde.

Flying warriors See elites/HQ - Warriors with wings can be counted as fast attack. *Given that warrior broods can be up 10, that means that, without considering the points issue, a tyrannid army could potentially field 80 warriors - all synapse creatures, so unable to be insta-killed.

Heavy Support
Well, we haven't tried these out yet, so I really don't know what to make of them.

They can provide a shooty base, and some weird psychic powers, but few of them require a roll, so a psychic hood won't help. *Sisters do get an extra save versus all psychic powers though, so that's nice. *These are weak if you get them into close combat, and they can't hold objectives, nor do they move particularly fast. *As a result, they should be among the last things you worry about.

They're big. *Very big. *With the potential for a lot of wounds, 2+ save and toughness 7, they can be hard to take down. *Fortunately, they're incredibly slow. *Also, fortunately, is that bolters can wound them on a 6, and divine guidance can make that wound AP1, and they don't have an invulnerable save to get in the way of this plan. *

Shooting-wise, they won't hit too often, and their weapon choices won't beat your armour (if i recall correctly - I think the barbed strangler is AP5... I could be wrong though). *Their venom cannon can only ever glance vehicles. *The barbed strangler uses a pie-plate, but you should get an armour save. *Pinning is possible, but if you keep your books around it won't be too much of a problem either.

(too long - more in reply)
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Old 09 Jun 2005, 20:37   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...

What we have to work with
I'm torn between a shooty inquisitor and a canoness here. The shooty inquisitor brings more heavy bolters to the table - a good thing. The canoness brings 2 faith. But, her big advantages against other armies aren't so good against tyrannids. Sure, she can get a 2+ invulnerable save, but you don't want to be tying them up, you want to be shooting them, and they're going to get more attacks on her, rather than a handful of powered attacks, so that 2+ sve, even invulnerable, probably won't hold up.

I'd go with the inquisitor first, and if you had the extra points to buy 2 more faith points, grab a canoness, give her a bolter and a book of st. lucius, and use her to keep your lines together.

Another advantage to the inquisitor is that he can grab you a liber heresius. This gives you a 91.6% chance of choosing which side of the table you want. You want more terrain on their side of the table, so you have clear shots at them as they run at you, and especially want to strand their lictors out in the middle of nowhere, so this is a big advantage against tyranids.

Sisters. Stormtroopers gain you nothing in this case. Bolters are that much more useful against the genestealers, gargoyles and hormagaunts that will be the most important early targets because of their AP. Bolters are also able to wound anything they have, unlike the stormtrooper's guns, and divine guidance on mass shooting at carnifexes and hive tyrants is one of your best methods for handling them, especially if they've bought the 2+ save upgrade.

Squad size: You want to be able to take the occassional casualty from tyranid shooting, and still remain scoring, and within easy divine guidance rolls. But, fully maximizing these squads puts a lot of eggs in one basket should they manage to pull off an assault.
I'd go with 14 sisters.

Weapon Upgrades: The range on the multimelta and nature of the most dangerous opponents that you'll be facing really would indicate not using them here. Bugs will close fast. I think the flamer/heavy-flamer combo is probably the best upgrade, unless you're really massing the longer-range fire, in which case the extra 2 shots from 2 stormbolters would be more useful.

Zealots - might be useful as sacrificial speedbumps, to stop early charges before they hit your main lines - but don't bother giving them any upgrades as you won't get the chance to use them. Keep unit sizes as small as possible, and make sure that they're all close enough together to be fully engaged - you don't want to risk surviving the tyranid charge, keeping them in combat (and out of being shot) during your turn, and giving them the consolidate before their next move.

Assassins: Don't do it. They don't have the stats to match the bugs. The vindicare might accomplish something... but I wouldn't bet on it. Chances are he'd be rushed before he could take down anything of significance.

Repentia: Let's see, toughness 3, initiative 1, 1 wound each, against a sea of bugs moving at initiave 4, with at least three attacks each. Somehow, I don't think so.

Arco-flagellants: Their biggest advantages are lost against the bugs. They get lots of power weapon attacks. But, the bugs go first, and generally have pretty poor armour saves anyway, so paying more to ignore armour isn't worth it. And, they go first. And, they will get enough wounds on you that you'll have few left to do anything.

Celestians: The last place you want to be is in combat with bugs, so why pay the 2 extra points for prefered enemy? Maybe to take a heavy bolter in another squad, but if you're going to do that...

Inquisitor: An inquisitor with 3 heavy bolter servitors will run you under 100 points. That's 9 heavy bolters, 27 shots, hitting on 3 or better, if you max them out. That deny armour saves to nearly everything but the monstrous tyranids. Sure, no faith, but, it will do an awful lot to reduce the early rushes. Plus, each inquisitor could also take a bolter/stake crossbow, which would make short work of hive tyrants or zoanthropes, denying them their increased armour saves.

In my opinion, if you want to do something with your elites, this is the thing to do.

Fast attack:

Because, you really want to get closer to the bugs.

I think seraphim are too expensive to use against tyranids. You need to get within 12 inches to fire any of your weapons, and that means you're getting charged by creatures with high initiative and rending attacks the next turn. You're spending a lot of points for the right to be the bugs first meal.

Dominions: Potentially a much better idea, six dominions with 2 flamers, in an immolator, is a fairly cheap way to run at the bugs, dealing some serious damage as you go. With a 12 inch move, they need sixes (or guns) to hit your tank, while you get to drop three flame templates on them. Take extra armour, a minimum size squad, with only 2 flamers (you're not getting out of the tank unless knocked out, and if you're forced to exit, you'll be pinned (and then eaten) anyway, so the extra flamers aren't worth the points. I'm even unsure of whether you need fog. Extra armour, certainly. But fog - they're going to start as close to you as they can, and you can move 12 and still fire the flamers, so I am not sure that fog will be worth anything, unless you have points left over somewhere else. You can do this for roughly 150 points, including a veteran superior (whose faith would go to some other unit, doubly, as I don't think this squad would survive the game)

Heavy Support

Penitent Engines: Lots of bugs have rending. Lots of the bug's gun's have extra effects against open topped vehicles. I don't think these would be worth it. But, if you field a lot of them, they could be effective carnifex killers - high strength, higher initiative than the carni's, and a lot of attacks could do the trick. But, if you fail, they'll almost certainly kill you in return. It's a gamble, and one that also involves not dying to a sea of genestealers on the way. I think I'd probably avoid them.

Orbital Strike: Good luck predicting which terrain to hit, and better luck with getting the tyranids to stay there for more than one turn after the strike is revealed. They're generally pretty fast. But, I generally don't think much to these.

Exorcists: Take one or two and hunt down the heavily armoured monstrous creatures. The tyranids don't have a lot of weapon options throughout their ranks that can hurt the front of the exorcist - the venom cannon and the barbed strangler are the only ones that really come to mind. The venom cannon can only glance, while the strangler can only penetrate on a 6. Take out any carnifxes with those weapons, and then go to town on the hive tyrants and other hive creatures.

4 heavy bolters and a faith point for about 130 points. Rock on. Although, maxing this unit's size will let your heavy bolters get off divine guidance shots when firing at the big bugs, getting past their good armour saves. Add another 60 points if you want to do that. With that in mind, if you want heavy bolters for shooting small bugs, go with the minimum size, if you want a bit more flexibility, go with the larger squad for the increased AP when needed.

Also, you're fighting for heavy support slots with exorcists, which I'd want to field 2 of. Running inquisitors with heavy bolter servitors as elites gives you more slots for this sort of thing.

Tips for playing:

Start at the back of your deployment zone. Make them run as far as possible to get to you, even if that means giving up a few shots in earlier turns.

Beware of lictors messing up your lines. Either fully occupy, or vacate area terrain. Your armour save is better than the cover you're likely to get. Likewise, if there's a broodlord, manage your deployment carefully to block off obvious infiltration locations. Don't let him start 12 inches away without you having line-of-sight.

Set your girls up so that if the forward ones get into an assault, they don't block the line of sight on the ones behind them, nor can the bugs consolidate into another squad.

Anything that can possibly assault next turn is target number one, and shoot until it isn't there anymore. Due to their weaponskill and initiative, one genestealer can position for a charge that allows it to kill off 2 girls, leaving none to strike back at it, next thing you know, you lost combat, you're consolidating, and you're tied up, blocking line-of-sight and buying the other bugs more time. Hormaguants and shooty gaunt broods are less of a threat of this, but if possible, it is better to wipe them all out than risk a charge, even by one.

Anything that can possibly assult the turn after next is the second highest priority target. After that, target the synapse creatures.

Don't waste divine guidance on models with a 5+ or 6+ save. This should go without saying, but I'm saying it anyway.

(more - next reply - sample list)
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Old 09 Jun 2005, 20:38   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...

Sample list: (1850)

This is a 'nid hunting WH list - avoiding allies (although the mystics in a DH retinue - and the ability to give the inquisitor a psycannon certainly make them an attractive replacement for one of our inquisitors with minimal extra models to buy). It's clearly not designed as an all-comers list.

HQ: (199)
Inquisitor Lord (bolter-stake crossbow, auspex, Liber Heresius), 2 heavy bolter servitors, 1 plasma cannon servitor, 2 sages, 1 penitent (199)

Troops: (716)
Front line:
Sisters (x2): VSS (book of st lucius, bolter), 11 sisters w/ bolters, 1 sister w/ heavy flamer, 1 sister w/ flamer (191 x2 = 382)
Second line:
Sisters (x2): VSS (bolter), 10 sisters w/ bolters, 2 sisters w/ storm bolters (167 x2 = 334)

Elites: (319)
Inquisitor w/ bolter/stake crossbow + 3 heavy bolter servitors (105)
Inquisitor w/ bolter/stake crossbow & auspex + 3 heavy bolter servitors (107)
Inquisitor w/ bolter/stake crossbow & auspex + 3 heavy bolter servitors (107)

Fast Attack: (152)
Dominons: (VSS w/ bolter, 2 sisters w/ bolters, w sisters w/ flamers, immolator w/ heavy flamers) (152)

Heavy Support: (464)
Retributors: VSS w/ bolter, 5 sisters w/ bolters, 4 sisters w/ heavy bolters (464)
Exorcist: (Extra armour) (140)
Exorcist: (Extra armour) (140)

HQ: 11%
Troops: 39%
Elites: 17%
Fast: 8%
Heavy: 25%

Models: 91
Starting Faith: 6
Bolters/Stormbolters/Bolter-crossbows: 63
Heavy Bolters: 15
Flamers/Heavy Flamers: 7
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Old 09 Jun 2005, 23:54   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...


Very nice to see some information regarding the new Tyranid. I've yet to face them myself and I'm still itching to get my hands on a codex so that I can start getting ready for what to expect. Lots of good information coming up and I'm particularly interested in all the new infiltration and deep strike stuff which will make our auspex work double time and become defacto equipment soon almost! Also, all of these psychic beasts will be great targets for some of our anti-psychic stuff... so psyck-out orbitals may (albeit in a very, very small way) become useful or fun at least. Also... cool gear like power stakes and psyocculums psy-trackers will become pretty usefull too since most synapse boys carry psychic ability. I really want to see the new codex so I can confirm how all that will work soon.

As for Tyrants.... bring it on!
We have Inquisitors with Power Stakes and Acolytes willing to die for him, to beat down a Tyrant at I5 speeds, though we still will need 2 turns of combat most likely Soon though! I'd love to be smashing around with a power stake more and more... makes a nice mess of quite a few characters vs characters battles!

Cheers for the updates and info!
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Old 10 Jun 2005, 00:37   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...

Seeing the new nids in combat, I don't want to be anywhere near them, powerstake or not. Stake crossbows are about as good, and you can use them from 24 inches out.

The new genestealers are just evil. With I6, and 2 base rending attacks, plus another if they take scything talons, and getting the charge (more likely due to their mobility) they go through anything. I was playing against my wife's 'stealers with a marine army, and tried to absorb their charge with a dreadnaught, and 32 rending dice later, I had no dreadnaught anymore. They're kinda like daemonettes, but even better.

On the other hand, they have very few ways to get an invulnerable save. My librarian took out a tooled (t7,2+sv,5 wound) carnifex with his force sword. The no-instant-kill rule is only for kills due to strength/toughness comparisons.
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Old 10 Jun 2005, 01:56   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...

Ahh sounds great!

So force weapons will be useful for some forces indeed. I'm interested to know about all those carnifex options, if there are fast ones that are optional. Genestealers are for sure a new threat to my eyes. A few people I know already had tons of them and never used them due to poor poor movement, very expensive, no resilience to speak of. However, with the new codex poking out, I'm sure to see them on the tables soon.

How are the guns looking? Anti-armor becoming easier? Or is the shooting phase for the bugs still a little damp?
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Old 10 Jun 2005, 14:56   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Tyrannids - what we got to handle them with...

Venom Cannon can get high strength, but can only ever get glancing hits.
Barbed Stranger gets a pinning pie plate at decent range, but max str. 8 and not the best AP
Other guns either lack strength or range (or both) but living ammunition can make up for some of the strength problems.

Overall though, no, not that good. The normal gaunts (not hormaguants) feel a bit like eldar guardians. Run up to 12 inches to get into range, and then fire a couple assault rounds before being chewed up.
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