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The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition
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Old 21 Jan 2009, 15:53   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

Psychic Scream and the Unholy Choir in 5th edition

What is the Unholy Choir

When our group tested Nidzilla for 5th edition one variant we toyed with was the Unholy Choir. When I posted our findings, I never brought up the possibility of using the Choir list but instead just analyzed the standard Nidzilla based on our test results. This seems an injustice to an army that has significant potential in 5th edition.

The Unholy Choir is not new to 5th edition. Pinning and reduced LD was always a viable tactic. Zoanthropes and MCS could not run in 4th edition and getting your Psychic Screams within 18” of the enemy you could take four plus turns. Also synapse and warp blast were very popular additions to Zoanthropes as well leaving no room for the extra psychic power. In 5th the list is better. Additionally, a walking Hive Tyrant is a much better HQ choice in 5th edition so we can eassily fit in extra Screams.

There was and is a feeling that too many fearless squads could neuter the effect. Zoanthropes are costly for what they do. They are erratic at shooting and some enemies easily win combat against a Carnifex making the negative Ld useless.

You can fit up to five Psychic Screams in a list – two on your Tyrants and three on your Zoanthropes. Their effects are cumulative. Three Zoanthropes and two Tyrants would give a combined -5 to any leadership test within 18 inches.

The key to the Unholy Choir is to keep a nice overlapping field of effect for all your Screaming models and to get as many pinning weapons as possible into the list.

Tips and Tactics

The walking tyrant and guard works best in a dedicated choir list, and those in existing armies that already have the models do not need to replace them. They have not lost any potency. No one is going to attack a Tyrant with two guards sporting lash whips. Horror becomes so much better too.

The effects of Psychic Scream on an enemy psychic unit that wants to use a power is enhanced by Shadow in the Warp. If a Chaos Lord wants to try to cast his power and he is near your Choir and a Hive Tyrant that has Shadow of the Warp, he would roll 3d6 drop the lowest(shadow of the warp) and then compare it to his LD. Hopefully, with Shadow in the Warp on your Tyrant, you should be able to keep twin LoS chaos forces at bay.

Field zoanthropes in a very offensive role. Just start by running and then walk up and blast anything within range. Run the first two turns if need be to get into range. Fit them with Warp Blast and Psychic Scream. By turn three they will begin to own the board. Zoanthropes are vulnerable to instant death if out of synapse.
Give one synapse to remedy this. Warp Blast is great but sometimes synapse is better. Warp Blast relies on both an Ld check and a BS check. It's also prone to anti-psycher rules such as the psychic hood and runes of warding. Take Shadow in the Warp to alleviate this problem.

The combination of moving Zoanthropes behind your Tyrants with Horror and keeping each Zoanthrope in range of the other makes a very good delaying tactic to increase your chances of a charge or denying a charge. If the enemy attempts to charge the Tyrants, fail the morale check and can't assault that turn it leaves them open to either dakka or your assault.

Sniperfexes and Boomfexes are both very good choices for the choir. Get any other Barbed Stranglers you want on your Tyrant. Pinning is a key component of this list. Mobile armies can be a problem. They will try to stay out of that 18" zone and shoot so pen them in by advancing along a front. Skimmers and flyers are priority targets. A few Carnifexes and a few Warp Blasts will help.

Set up as far forward as possible, advance and shoot every turn and take first turn if possible. The reduction in leadership will make it difficult for an opponet to target what he needs to hit. With this strategy Spinegaunt can soak up wounds and bounce off targets and give you a 4+ save.

Stay away from the table edges. Outflanking squads are good against this list. Screen your MCs with gaunts. Deep strikers will also pose a threat. Just weather the first assault be it H2H or shooting and realign your force to deal with the intruders. The more squads left in reserve, the easier it is to pick apart his force early. Deep striking and outflanking have inherent risks that you can use to your advantage with good deployment and solid tactics.

Most Choir lists rely on Warp Blasts, Venom Cannon and MCs for their AT needs. Sniperfexes fit this role well. Godzilla lists put out a high rate of fire. The Choir just makes those shots count more forcing numerous tests at a low LD.

You need troops. Commonly WON gaunts are used as they are not as susceptible to synapse problems. Take your LD test on the last turn or move a Synapse unit into range when they come from reserve. Move them onto the board on your second last turn if possible Use them as a first wave to bounce off tanks and troops and then bring them back to take objectives in your deployment zone. Troops are not targeted in Choir lists. Without Number is very worthwhile on gaunt broods to ensure survivability.

Remember in 5th edition you want to keep the Choir close to your Genestealers, and then engage in close combat. If you beat your opponent they will have to take a leadership check at their base leadership, minus the amount of wounds they lost by, minus the number of choir models in range. Genestealers are the best cc squad we have in these lists.

Forcing fall back checks for units adjacent or behind falling back units makes the Unholy Choir nasty.

Barbed Strangler shots will pin more often and with the new rules for blasts are really quite powerful. This makes them a weapon of choice with Psychic Scream.

The FOC

If you have read this far here is a breakdown of your choices.

HQ: You want at least one Hive Tyrant with psychic scream. It could be a walking Tyrant or a flying Tyrant but with the list as setup a Flyrant will be well ahead of the main body of troops. A second HQ choice is not mandatory but I like to fit Shadow in the Warp into these lists. A Broodlord with retinue is nice but there is no room in Zilla lists.

Elite: Again in a larger list (1500 +) either shooty Warriors with one Barbed Strangler or Elite Dakkafexes or Boomfexes fit in nicely. Both weill provide a little more dakka to the list. However if a Carnifex is chosen the additional MC will prove useful.

Troops: I like Spinegaunts and Genestealers here. I prefer WON on my gaunts, something I would not use in a standard list, but Termagaunts or Hormagaunts could work. I use Feeder Tendrils on my Stealers and talons for the extra attack but again they could be scuttling and flesh hooks if that is your preference.

Fast Attack: Not needed

Heavy: No debate here. Zoanthropes are mandatory. Then decide between Boomfexes and Sniperfexes depending on the point level.

Sample list

The sweet spot for Unholy Choirs is the 1250 – 1500 point range. At 1500 points you will be able to fit in up to three Elite Carnifexes to boost your effectiveness but at 1250 points you can still field a potent force. The list below has not been fully tested. We played a similar list when we were testing Nidzilla and I’ve based this list off those results. I will be taking this list to a tournament soon where I expect to face some very competent opponents. I’ll modify the post next Sunday with my won/loss record.

1250 Pts - Unholy Choir -

Hive Tyrant @ 229 Pts
+1 BS; +1 St; Barbed Strangler; Twin-linked Devourer ; Shadow in the Warp;
2 Tyrant Guard
Lash Whips; Rending Claws

Hive Tyrant @ 229 Pts
+1 BS; +1 St; Barbed Strangler; Twin-linked Devourer ; Psychic Scream;
2 Tyrant Guard
Lash Whips; Rending Claws

8 Gaunt Brood @ 64 Pts
Spinefists; Without Number

8 Gaunt Brood @ 64 Pts
Spinefists; Without Number

8 Genestealers @ 192 Pts
Feeder Tendrils; Scuttlers; Rending Claws; Scything Talons

3 Zoanthrope @ 185 Pts
Toxic Miasma; Psychic Scream; 2x Warp Blast; Synapse

Boomfex @ 124 Pts
Scything Talons; Barbed Strangler, +1 I, Mace Tail

Sniperfex @ 163 Pts
Enhanced Senses, Reinforced Chitin, Venom Cannon, Barbed Strangler

Total Roster Cost: 1250

This list has four Psychic Screams and one Tyrant is given Shadow in the Warp which has proved to be a nice addition to the Unholy Choir and works well even on its own making it much more difficult for the opponent to caste psychic powers. With the possibility of seeing a Lash in every other chaos list it becomes even more attractive and it prevents wounds from Perils of the Warp (check Faqs) even your own.

We know that 5th edition is about troops holding objectives. WoN may not be the best upgrade to squads in a swarm list but in lists short on synapse and troops it becomes one of the better additions. You can hold your gaunts back in reserve and then rush to an objective or you can push them in front of your moving wall and bounce them off tanks and squads knowing that that will come back.

AT is handled by MCs, Venom Cannons and your Warp Blasts. Although none of these options are fully reliable a combination of the three is effective. The Barbed Stranglers can try to take down lighter armour or elite squads and are your primary pinning weapons. We use four pie plates in the list. One or two is overly random with scatter.

I would have liked +1 I on both Carnifexes to get those PFs and PKs first but I could only fit one in. This was aweakness we discovered that needed to be addressed. The abiltity to throw a Mace Tail, +1 I Fex with five attacks on the charge at a small elite unit with PKs or PFs was required.

This list is an example of the sweet spot list for the Choir.

1500 Pts - Unholy Choir -

Hive Tyrant;
+1 BS; Twin-linked Devourer(2) ; Psychic Scream;
2 Tyrant Guard
Lash Whips; Rending Claws

Hive Tyrant;
+1 BS; Twin-linked Devourer(2) ; Shadow in the Warp;
2 Tyrant Guard
Lash Whips; Rending Claws

Boomifex
Scything Talons; Barbed Strangler

Boomifex
Scything Talons; Barbed Strangler

Boomifex
Scything Talons; Barbed Strangler

6 Genestealers
Feeder Tendrils; Scuttlers

10 Gaunt Brood
Spinefists

10 Gaunt Brood
Spinefists

Sniperfex
Enhanced senses; Barbed Strangler; Venom Cannon

Sniperfex
Enhanced senses; Barbed Strangler; Venom Cannon

3 Zoanthropes
Toxic Miasma; Psychic Scream; Warp Blast

This is almost your standard Nidzilla list and any extra biomorphs are dropped for maximum damage. It's better to give them what they "need" ( gunfex with VC+BS+ES, all they need) and use those other points on more units. At 1250 points more biomorphs were used only to give the list added punch. It's an exception to the general rule. At 1500 points we need extra MCs and less biomorphs. The extra three MCs compensate for more initiative or a better save. We also have more AT in the extra VC. I would use this as a template. You could add Devourers exchange a Boomfex for a Dakkafex or add Barbed Stranglers to your Hive Tyrants. In this list the gaunts are coming in from reserve as they are not needed to screen as much but again WON gaunts could be used.

Useful Biomorphs, Psychic Abilities, Etc. to Consider

Hive Tyrants;

Enhanced Senses - I always use this on a shooty Tyrant. We want to do the maximum amount of damage.
Toxin Sacs - See above.
Shadow in the Warp - I like this power. I want the flexibility to deal with certain Chaos, Eldar and SM lists that rely on their own psychic abilities. It is optional though.

Tyrant Guard;

Lash Whips - A contentious choice. Some prefer the extra atttack others lioke the added defence. With Horror and Shadow and Lash Whips your Tyrant is nigh unassailable.

Spinegaunts;

WON - In general I'm not a big fan of this upgrade. In a Choir list I like it. I am interested in shooting my opponent off the table. A disposable, returnable scoring unit seems ideal.
Other biomorphs and upgrades - Why? Keep them cheap as chips.

Genestealers;

Scuttlers - I like them. It means they will not get shot up on the firdt teo turns when I'm setting up the Choir.
Scything Talons - Very optional. I happen top like the extra attacks.
Feeder Tendrils - Optional again. Some prefer Flesh Hooks with the amount of terrain in 5th edition. I keep going back and forth on this.
Flesh Tendrils - See above

Zoanthropes;

Warp Blast - Absolutely necessary for the added antitank. It might not be reliable but it is needed regardless.
Synapse - Optional if you think they are going to be close enough to Tyrants and if your Carnifexes will be close enough as well. I like the insurance but an extra Warp Blast would be nice.

Carnifex;

We are using either Dakkafexes, Boomfexes or Sniperfexes.
Enhanced Senses - Useful on Sniperfexes and Dakkafexes
Adrenal Glands +1 I - Try and fit this in on a Boomfex but it is optional.
Mace Tail - Only if points allow.
Reinforced Chitin, Extended Carapace - Very optional. Again it is nice but you need to have the spare points.

How it plays against different armies

Choir lists work best against Orks, IG, Tau and Necrons. Guard simply fold in half to any shots that come their way, Marines' knees buckle in fear.

Necrons will turn tail and run off the board. One of the most devastating attacks on Necrons is Psychic Choir combined with pinning weapons. Remember, if you take 25% casualties from a pinning weapon you still test for pinning and then you test again for running, even if you are already pinned. Pinning neuters their strongest suit – shooting. It will ensure that you get the charge in cc as well. If you engage them in combat with your stealers they are in very bad shape. You'll sweep him if he fails CC.

With the number of Ork armies that you can expect to see, a Psychic Choir army is tempting. The combination of pinning and low LD will stop hordes and bikers alike. It is not that Genestealers aren’t also good against Orks. They are very good. Unholy Choirs though are the closest to auto win you get though. Psychic scream is a godsend against Orks, often lowering their LD to the 2-4 range after losing combat or from taking shooting casualties. This combined with your Barbed Stranglers makes the Unholy Choir the list of choice against them.

A fearless unit is immune to this effect so the list needs punch without the Screams. Chaos has many lists that can hurt us. Eldar and Space Marines will handle this list as they do a standard Nidzilla list which is still matches we can win. Shadow in the Warp is useful against the Lash, Librarian powers and even Eldar neutering Runes of Warding.

• If you decide to play a doubles tournament pick Dark Eldar for a partner. Stacking Scream and Dark Eldar Horrorfex or Xenospasms is devastating. With one round of shooting you can pin an entire force. Just do not tell anyone I told you to do it!

About Nidzilla

Many experienced Tyranid players feel that a mixed list with a lot of gaunts is the strongest Tyranid build. They believe Nidzilla has too many inherent weaknesses with so few models, Carnifexes that fall to heavy weapons and not enough scoring troops. Although this is an Unholy Choir list it plays similar to Nidzilla so lets examine this premise.

Even with troops being the only scoring units able to claim objectives, if you kill all your opponents troops quickly, one or two squads of gaunts troops coming in from reserve to claim a nearby objective wins the game.

When 5th edition came out many thought the lack of troops in MC lists would hurt Nidzilla. It didn't. The no retreat rules and run have made our MCs and stealers prefered squads in a tyranid list. Hive Tyrants, Fexs and Stealers are the best our codex has to offer.

Gaunts are useful to hold objectives and for cover saves and tar pitting. You do not need that many mobs to use their strengths. Who in their right mind is going to target your gaunts when two Hive Tyrants w/Gaurd and up to six Carnifexes are running at them?

Tyranids do not have characters. Monstrous creatures are our among our best units, can deal the most damage and have the most survivability. Twin linked devourers and Barbed Stranglers are fantastic weapons. Our MCs, Tyrants and warriors are the only squads that get to use them.

Not having to move 150 troops a turn at a tournament floats my boat. Even in casual league play you can get three games in a lot easier. Okay - this is what people think is the only viable reason to run Nidzilla and on its own it is not enough of a validation. But it isn't the only reason to run Nidzilla nad coupled with its strengths just makes Zilla that much better.

Summation

Keeping all of this mind we have room to customize any current list easily with the Unholy Choir. You do not have to fit in four Barbed Strangler and five Psychic Screams. You can use a Flyrant with Scream if you like too. You can add leaping Warriors and more gaunts. Like any list built around a theme a hybrid list can work well too. In smaller lists I like four Psychic Screams and one Shadow in the Warp and they combine nicely.

The Nidzilla Unholy choir is still considered ‘cheese’. When opponents are not prepared to face it as in the case of Nob Biker lists or the Sallie lists the easiest way to deal with it is to cry ‘ cheese’ Do not believe it will win almost any tournament entered. However, with up to seven MCs and five Psychic Screams and you can shoot four to five squads to below 25% every turn. Running opponents off the board is quite possible.

In 40k it seems that GW can't get proper game balance to save their lives. Some might argue that this list takes advantage of the rules to get a list that is as effective as possible within the points limit and impossible to beat with some armies. People on the receiving end might choose resort to calling the list 'cheese' instead of either coming up with counters which, given the lack of game balance may not be possible, utilizing similar tactics themselves or tailoring a list to beat it.

Overall, I think the Unholy Choir is an effective list in 5th edition and is easily incorporated into a Nidzilla framework.

You have been applauded! - Phage

THIS THREAD WILL BE EDITED AS BATREP REVIEWS and TESTING CONTINUE
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Old 21 Jan 2009, 22:56   #2 (permalink)
Francisco
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

There only 1 thing I have to reply.
About the list it seems nasty and devil to mess with oponent psychology ;D
Still you got a slightly problem in youre zoanthropes.
Its seems there fine if they dont have at star the warp field power, which means you need to decide 2 more powers, not 3. Soo decide youreselft bettewn Synapse creature, psychic scream or warp blast.
Hope you wont mind, but sometimes we need to do this to avoid possible mistakes in the future
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Old 21 Jan 2009, 23:34   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

Quote:
Its seems there fine if they dont have at star the warp field power, which means you need to decide 2 more powers, not 3. Soo decide youreselft bettewn Synapse creature, psychic scream or warp blast.
Hope you wont mind, but sometimes we need to do this to avoid possible mistakes in the future
You are misreading the list ...
2 zoanthropes have warp blast and psychic scream
1 zoanthrope has synapse and psychic scream

This little extra synapse might come in handy depending on how you end up deploying and attacking your opponent. It is a little insurance policy.
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Old 21 Jan 2009, 23:42   #4 (permalink)
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ooo youre right ;D
I will try with this, its for a long time I havent defeated orks and I was finding new strategy methods to assure their hell ;D
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 00:00   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

The list is designed to be an 'all comers' list. However, Ork players cry when they see an abundance of Barbed Stranglers in a list. One or two are not too frightening as they will scatter. But use four (I have a list that is similar but not Unholy Choir that uses five at 1250&lt and it almost appears as if you are tailoring a list. Add in the Psychic Screams and Nob Bikers and hordes stop moving as they will fail LD tests even with their Bosspoles. In testing heavy Strangler lists against Orks, we have yet to lose - I played the Orks in the tests and I know Orks well. It was just frustrating for me to go up against it. By turn two a savvy Choir player will have effectively locked the Orks down if he prioritizes properly. Expect Ork Koptas and Kommandos to go after your MCs. Be prepared for it and you will be able to deal with it. If your opponent is tailoring a list he will use three squads of Kommandos and Koptas to avoid being pinned. This, however, is so rare in a tournament setting that you should deal with it in play by keeping your troops away from the table edges and using a gaunt screen. You might lose an MC but then you will win the game. It leaves less Orks on the table for the first two turns and that makes your task easier.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 10:48   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

My common oponent use the normal quantity of the boys to overwell the oponents.
In a 1250 pts list, he use to play with 1 battlewagon, 2 looted wagons with boomguns, the mek with shokk attack gun, 30 gretchins, total boys for about 100/120, 1 or 2 killa kans, and sometimes another mek with that stupid force field stuff. All mobs have at least a power claw, 1 rokkit launcha and sometimes 3 big shootas.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 10:56   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

whatever happened to the rule about having at least 50% of your points in Troops choices, when did that go away? that was the balancing rule that GW had at the beginning of my 40k "career" back in 2nd edition (okay, i feel old now)

once that went away, things got all screwy. and my brother started making all these monstrous tyranid creatures out of resin pieces and sculpey that made my normal-sized models look so tiny! even my tanks looked puny next to those big Nid monsters
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 11:00   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

yea its very funny seeing titans on the field for example the hierophant with 25 inches high lol
being resign makes them special peices and have to be very carefully using them.
Even the way, you think youre tanks are small to hierophants and hierodules, Well you dont realize how much points they cost.
A scything hierodule is around 600 pts, 750 the barbed hierodule and 1250pts the hierophant...pretty nasty and expsnive units.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:25   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

we had one mega game of 5000 pts each, IG against his Nids, and he had four of those huge things, all different types, in addition to hordes of gaunts, stealers, flying warriors, and a pair of tyrants and more. i was feeling all cocky and arrogant when i packed up my platoons of troops and a dozen or so tanks and all those heavy weapon squads, but that feeling went away real quick when i saw those beasties :
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 17:01   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Unholy Choir in 5th Edition

What you expect in face of gargantuan creatures, not even there huge and the long range ones shot alots of S10 shots there also incredibly fast for their size.

Even an IG player that get 1/2 baneblades still worried about tyranid armies.
I´ve played against IG and I never lost, and the results are al lthe same, a complete slaugther, I still have manage a half wounded scythed hierodule to pop up a baneblade with 1 charge.
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