Competitive 40k tactics and Battle Reports with the Tyranid Codex

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hope is a good thing

Here comes a little piece about the Tyranid Codex, and everyone's perception of it. Two weeks ago, the majority of us picked up our copy for the first time, and every rumor we had heard became a fact, or became false. And then came the crying. Actually that started a few days earlier, but many people insisted that we should wait until we held it. And when we picked up the book, there was a collective sigh. I like going on the various 40k forums, but I don't like all of the negativity that seems to be pervasive over the Internet. However, among all that negativity, there is something much, much more productive. Hope.

In all of the forums and sub-forums, there are topics springing up on Tyranids. They're a popular army, who just got a release, so this is natural. But there are more than usual as people try to figure out exactly how they're going to win with this codex. And mark my words, they will find a way. No codex this edition has fallen completely flat, without a single build a player can win with. Even Dark Angels can put a bike-army together that will do well against most armies. 

What do I think of this codex? I would compare it the most to Daemons. This book has changed the army fundamentally, because the 6th edition rules took the army well away from where it was supposed to be. Do you remember how bad Daemons were when they came out? No one knew what they were doing, and a lot of games were lost because people saw Flesh hounds as the only good unit in the book. However, the Tyranid book is far less random than Daemons. There will be no good roll to make a unit virtually unkillable, and there will be no single roll that causes half of the army to disappear. The most important part of all that? The army has changed fundamentally. There are new ways to play the army now that must be addressed, because many players are living in the past. And if you dare to hope that the book can be good, try not to be discouraged by those vocal members who dislike the book.

Like Daemons, the army must now be played differently. Units that got worse may still not be bad. Units that didn't change at all may have gotten better. A realistic and objective point of view is the best thing that you can take into list-building with Tyranids. Again, look at Daemons. Pink Horrors were initially considered to have gotten worse from the last codex, and are still the most commonly seen troops choice. Tyranids play differently. The Tyranid army was not designed to be focused on Monstrous creatures spamming Psychic powers, that was a result of the edition switch. Look at how the army plays now! Instinctive Behavior is crippling, so Synapse is important. Units are cheaper, so there are more, so more synapse is needed. Units are just as tough (minus Biomancy) but in greater numbers, you can ensure that some reach your opponent.

The Tyranid codex is now designed to revolve around Synapse, and those units that can give it. The synapse units and our Monstrous creatures have been broken into separate units now, instead of the Tervigon, which was a crutch. Now we have MCs that will be tough by their own merits, or cheap enough to bring multiples. Tyranids will not have the highest toughness MC on the board, nor the best save. But, they can easily have the most Monstrous Creatures, and that can be even better. 

Let's look at the Warrior for a second. They suck. Last edition they were bad, and now they haven't changed, so that's an easy answer, right? 
Tyranid Warriors are a T4 multi-wound unit. Getting an equal wound total in Space Marine scouts is more expensive, isn't fearless and doesn't buff the army... Warriors have Synapse, which is all-important with Tervigons no longer being the master of backfield support. They get killed by Strength 8? Who really has strength 8 now? Your usual Tau army has Fusion blasters, 12" range that shouldn't get near you, and the Riptides blast weapon. If your opponent can afford to shoot your Warriors, put a Monstrous Creature in his face. Even then, he can scatter, roll a 1 to wound, or if you have cover then it gets a lot trickier for him to kill that unit. Plus, 3 models are easily hid out of Line of Sight. 

The Tyranid army is not exclusively bad units. Do we have duds like rippers? Yeah. But there are also units like Howling Banshees, and yet Eldar are a great army. This army is not perfect, and the book feels rushed. The Eldar book also bothers me as rushed, and again it is a very competitive army. The book is many things beyond the competitive level of its army, so judge the quality of the army separately from the low-quality book. 

Now, look at some "bad" units in a vacuum. The Tervigon is nerfed, and yet still good in my mind. It's role has changed, from an attack dog to a guard dog. In terrain it is a pain to kill, and can reliably grant an 18" bubble of synapse, which is HUGE for the army. It is just as good at scoring as before, and now supports a wider variety of units, so use it for that instead of bull-rushing your opponent. 

As I wrap this up, I'll provide a quick list that to me feels viable, so you have an example. There are plenty of little tricks (like Venomthropes) that I'm sure are common knowledge. So, we must adapt for this. No forge world, no double Force Organization, no Dataslates, here's an 1850 list. Tyranids play differently, but this list has some common units to before to make an easy transition. However, they are used differently because of the army. Tervigons are now a backfield unit that can control the army and score. With lots of wounds and good cover saves many armies will struggle to prevent this army from controlling the middle of the field, as well as the Tyranid half of the board. Control the majority of the board and you can control the majority of the objectives. 

Flyrant, Devourers
Flyrant, Devourers, Hive Commander

30 gants
30 gants, 25 Devourers


2 Biovores


So, try to look on the  bright side and acknowledge that the army has changed. Also, acknowledge that it takes time to change. You won't whip out your 5th edition list, add one new unit and go win a tournament. I've seen plenty of Battle Reports where a player takes his new army and plays it like his old one. Then, they get discouraged and talk about how bad the army is when they lose. There are many ways I can talk about how this codex has improved. The new powers, Flyrants, Biovores, Venomthropes, Dataslates, Fortifications, Tyrannofex, Carnifex, Exocrines, synergy, and much more. But I'm only one person, and I want to see what the community can do if it takes an honest, unbiased, new, fresh, and clean look at the new book without mourning the old, so I want to see your thoughts. If at first you don't succeed, try again. But don't just try the same, thing, adapt. It's what we do. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

01/19 NEW Tyranids vs Daemons 2000

This is my Math-hammered out new bug list. I'm not playing around, this is a hard-core all-comers list that fears no one. Except Jotww in a pod, but whatever.

Tyranids 2000 (2x FOC)

Flyrant, Devourers, Hive Commander.
Flyrant, Devourers
Flyrant, Devourers
10 gants
20 gants
30 gants
3 Biovores

And the Daemon list:

Slaanesh Prince, Wings, Armor, Lash, Grimoire
16 Horrors
16 Horrors
~15 Daemonettes
9 Screamers

10 cultists
Heldrake (autocannon)

The Mission:

Primary (8 points): Big Guns never tire: 5 objectives, center of board and each table quarter.
Secondary (5 points): Kill points: Scoring units count as 2 kps, 1 if at half. No other units count)
Tertiary (3 points): Pick one opponent scoring unit. If you kill it successfully you gain 3 points, if you both fail or both succeed, no one gets points.
Bonus (1 point each): Three Rulebook bonuses.

Deployment: Hammer and Anvil
First Turn: Daemons

Fateweaver: Molten Beam, Precognition, Dominate, Enfeeble
Daemon Prince: Hemorrhage, Warp Speed, Life Leech
Bel'akor: Telepathy discipline

Flyrant 1: Dominion, Warp Blast
Flyrant 2: Dominion, Paroxysm
Flyrant 3: Dominion, Onslaught
Tervigon: Onslaught
Zoanthrope: Dominion

Deployment Daemons: His three Flying Monstrous Creatures are out front. A Bastion with 10 cultists is in the center with one Pink horror squad on each side. Daemonettes are to my left, and Screamers out front with the FMCs. 

Deployment Tyranids: See below, the tower is a bastion. Tervigon with a green plastic piece is a Tyrannofex, and Carnifex on the large base is an Exocrine.

Turn 1 Daemons: He advances his army, with the Prince and Be'Lakor on the right. (He would later run the prince forward behind the building) His Screamers are Invisible for a 2++ re-rollable cover save... not bad. He also puppet masters my Tyrannofex with many gants nearby, but I deny! 

Turn 1 Nids: Time to strike back! Tyrannofexs both advanced behind a screen and killed a Screamer each. I onslaughted two Flyrants, taking my opponent by surprise as I moved both 7+ inches farther than he thought. I ended up catching his Grimoire Prince with 18 Devourer shots and a Warp Lance, which proved enough to take him down! First Blood and a major blow struck! 

 Turn 2 Daemons: His invisible Screamers swoop over my Zoanthrope and take him down. Be'Lakor Vector Strikes my Warlord down to 2 wounds and flies off the board. He advances otherwise, and grounds one of my Flyrants and assaults him with Daemonettes. He loses many but takes the Flyrant down.

Turn 2 Tyranids: I kill many Daemonettes with Biovores and a second Flyrant, the last one gets killed by the Exocrine. I advance slightly with gants. Then, I assault three MCs into the Screamers after killing two more with Flamers. Between wounds and Daemonic Instability, I kill all of them.

Turn 3 Daemons: His Heldrake and Be'Lakor come in. Various shots take down another Flyrant, but little else. Fateweaver tries to take out my Tervigon but I take no wounds to shooting. 

Turn 3 Nids: 30 gants appear on his right side, and between that and my last Flyrant I take his Horrors down, with a little help from a Heavy Bolter in the Bastion. I  also ground Fateweaver and assault him. He has a 4++ re-rollable, but if I wound him once he dies... No wounds are dealt however.

Turn 4 Daemons: His Heldrake takes more shots to no effect, as Be'Lakor Hallucinates my Warlord Flyrant who is then killed anyways. Fateweaver and the TFex do little.

Turn 4 Nids: I throw the other TFex at Fateweaver and kill him. Biovores pound his Horrors as I advance. 

Turn 5 Daemons: We agree this will be it, and he assaults my 30 gants and kills all with Be'Lakor. Cultists take that objective. Heldrake Vector Strikes my Tervigon but fails to kill him. 

Turn 5 Nids: My Exocrine (who had been advancing) assaults his Horrors on the left objective, pulling them off. I move onto the back two objectives. I could have taken the third, but it is no longer needed. 

Primary: 2-1, Tyranid 8 points
Secondary: 4-0, Tyranid 5 points
Tertiary: I killed his Daemonettes, Tyranid 3 points
I also got Warlord and first Blood, he got Warlord. 

18-1 final, domination! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

11/15/2013 RTT 1850

Right, well this is super duper late so I'm combining 3 games into one just to get them all done before I start posting BatReps from the new 6th edition book... Here we go!

I used what was (in 5th edition) my "standard" 1850 list, that I'd been using for almost a year.

Flyrant: Wings, Devs, OA
Flyrant: Wings, Devs, HC
10 gants
10 gants
20 gants
Tervigon, Toxin, Adrenal, 3 powers
Tervigon, Toxin, Adrenal, 3 powers
Tervigon, Toxin, Adrenal, 3 powers
5 Ymgarls
5 Ymgarls
The Doom in a SPod
2 Biovores

Game 1: Against DEldar, he had many Warriors in Raiders and Venoms, plus 20 warriors with the duke attached, and several Ravagers. Here's some highlights...

I spawned early, hoping to get some extra gants because of his extra dakka. Sadly I spawned out way too early. 

My Flyrants flew around trying to gun down his Ravagers. I know they'll likely die, and I lose one turn 2 and the other turn 3. Fortunately I killed all three Ravagers before they were gunned down. (Note my outflanking linebreaker gants below...) My Flyrants also earned me First Blood.

Having lost my Warlord, I ambushed his... 5 Ymgarls jumped out of Pipes and trashed his 20 man warrior squad after Biovores softened it up. I lost three, but swept his unit and the Duke to boot!

On my left flank there was a Reaver full of Warriors harrassing me. I failed two four inch charges in successive turns, first with poison gants, then a Tervigon!

Finally it was popped and his Warriors fled before my mighty wrath! 

End of the day? A victory! I held one objective in my back field, while he grabbed one in the center. I killed all but one of his troops, and knew I could at least hold the one I had placed out of LoS. I got all three secondary objectives, while he only slew my Warlord. A narrow victory over my arch-nemesis army!

But oh no, it would not get any easier... Taudar. Yuck. This was a... weird... mission where the mission was board control. What that meant, I have no idea. The judge said he would walk around at the end and decide who held the most of the board... weird. I didn't like it, but I had to play it. 

I assaulted his central firebase with mighty wrath! Fortunately I kept him bunched up. Walls helped shield my Flyrants as well and I killed many firewarriors. :) I also caused his Broadsides to fall off the table for first blood by targeting Drones for a 25% casualty check! 

My hordes advanced to secure "board control".

I assaulted a Commander and Firewarriors with Ymgarls and the Flyrant. Despite his mighty invulnerables I eventually smashed his commander for good.

 And I controlled the board...

I broke free and assaulted his Riptide+Eldrad!

Boy oh boy. This was a great game, and the judge ruled I won, but it was close. Towards the end he attempted a breakout and got pretty close to my lines but couldn't break my gant swarm. Twas a good game! I feel I deserved to win for killing Eldrad, getting First Blood and Linebreaker again, plus killing a good bit of his army. Still I would rather it have been a less, well, vague mission, as my opponent obviously wasn't happy with the result. 

Game 3: There were three undefeated players at this point... the two others played eachother while I was left with a one-loss opponent, and his Salamanders. Again, the mission was... odd. One troops unit could sit in an area terrain piece and perform a "ritual". Don't move shoot or get assaulted for two full player turns after this, and you have succeeded. First to do so gets 3 points, the other player then gets 1 if they do.

My opponent's deployment zone. 

A command squad and rhino shield got too close. I put a Tervigon in area terrain, cast Iron Arm and took the Primary. Then I mulched his command squad, except a Shield Captain whom I tied up. 

Just to make sure, I killed his Tactical squad by the tree to make sure he didn't get the Primary too. 

And swarmed his biker squad... 

Like, I really swarmed them. They died.

This game was rough due to a stupid mission and stupid rolls as well. He killed a Tervigon and I had gants fall back from a Dread they were tying up, only for them to rally and shoot his rear armor for three Glances. Wow. Just stuff like that, but my opponent was a great sport. 

Final: I took second place at 3-0, which is a shame as I feel I could have beaten the winners GK army, but oh well.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Codex Tyranid Review Part III

Here we go, the troops section! I was hoping to have this out earlier, but I'm in the middle of Exam week. This is generally considered THE most important part of the Force Organization Chart, because this is how you claim objectives. Of course we know what last edition was, when Troops choices kept Nids competitive. Now however, everyone loves to say that all of the troops suck. Of course,everyone knows that! Tervigons got worse, so can't possibly be good still. And Warriors sucked 4 years ago when that codex came out, so they must suck now... right?

Troop Choices:  Here comes a unit-by-unit review of the Troop choices, and how worthy each unit and upgrade is, plus how to best use each unit in your Tyranid army.

Termigant brood: Termigants by themselves have dropped by one point for no changes (other than Instinctive Behavior). Pretty good, right? Termigants are the typical Tyranid troop, what you think of first. These little bugs are pretty good at being pretty cheap, but that's mostly it. Scoring, cheap, and hey a Fleshborer. Do you need anything else? Well there are some options anyway. 
         Adrenal Glands: These work the same as on everyone else, but are pricey... they're more expensive than before and no one bought them then. It's worth considering because Tervigons no longer hand them out, but if you want gants to run or charge, there are Hormagaunts. (4/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Again, pricier than before. In a less-CC focused environment these will just not be worth it most of the time. (4/10) 
        Spinefists: Strength 3, Twin linked. Garbage? Maybe not. Against T3, Spinefists are better than Fleshborers. Against T4 it's equal, against T5 Fleshborers are better, against T6 Spinefists are better and against T7 Fleshborers are better. In all of these, "better" is by ~0.3 wounds from a brood of ten. So, pretty close. If you know you're seeing a T3 army, go spinefists. Otherwise? It's so close that I wouldn't bother changing models. I prefer Fleshborers for the sole reason of being able to recycle them for Tervigons. For a free upgrade, you can't go wrong either way. This gets a (5/10) because it really is personal preference. 
        Spike Rifles: Hm, this may be the only rule left without a model for it... will it be gone in 4 years? Joking aside, it's a -1 strength fleshborer with +6" range. A decent trade-off, seeing as it is free. Of course it is statistically worse once in range, but range is longer. If you want to model it, go ahead, but you're worse than guard shooting now. I'd stick to Fleshborers or Spinefists. (3/10)
        Strangleweb: This is now a strength 2 template with no special rules, or AP. Oh my. For the cost of a Flamer, you can get a flamer with two worse strength, but also two worse AP. Wait, what? Yeah, they did that. This is just one of the little things that makes me question the intelligence of Crudd- ahem, "the GW Design team". Leave this one at home... (2/10)
        Devourers: The famed "Devilgant" has lost his Pod, so many people are turned off. However a Devilgant is 2 points less than before, which has to mean something right? That's still tricky on a T3 model to double their cost. Well, here's a subtle change that is actually great for the new book. Upgrades went from "all" to "any". Any gant may be buy a devourer, that's a full 30 or one out of ten. I wouldn't buy a full squad Devourers, but all extra guys after the first ten should consider it... put ten guys in front to tank and then have the rest Dakka away! This combines very well with the Hive Commander rule. (8/10)
Overall: These are a good unit to take, with their one weakness being Instinctive behavior. Otherwise they are cheap, often fearless and can pack a punch if you want them too. Plus, they can make a Tervigon Troops! (7/10)
Example: 30 gants 120
              10 gants 40
               30 gants, 20 Devourers 200

Tervigon: Ok, ignore last edition. He is not as good as he was then, which has 0% relevance to the codex right now. How good is he right now? Well, he's a 6 wound MC that can CREATE TROOPS. Just think on that again. He should now be a little less aggressive, but has a definite potential in the army. There stats are the same, but +1 initiative (screw you Wolf Priest!) Also, spawn happens after moving and so can be done after outflanking. ;)
        Crushing Claws: These up his combat ability, but really don't do that much for her. This isn't a line breaker beast, she's still best used by exploiting her toughness and spawn ability. (4/10)
        Cluster Spines: Large blast strength 5, but loses 4 strength 5 Ap. 4 shots to buy it. Not worth it in my mind, as blasts at close range are bad for all the gants. I would avoid. (5/10)
        Electroshock grubs: A strength 5 haywire template: For 10 points, not too bad at all. Sadly, Thorax swarms lost their rule to shoot in addition to the other two weapons. Still, this is a good way to remove hullpoints on tough vehicles. But she is not a close ranged beast, so not a must-take. However, she can outflank and surprise a vehicle. (7/10)
        Desiccator Larvae: Fleshbane template: Good anti-infantry, but its usually not worth getting close to use it.  (3/10) 
        Shreddershard Beetles: Rending, shred Strength 3 template. Good for taking out 2/3+ armor saves, but she should never be that close. (4/10)
        Bioartifacts: Consider the Miasma cannon in this case, and this case only. She's a support beast, so range can suit her well, but don't expect to murder everything. Still it is not half bad. (6/10)
Overall: The Tervigon is much better as a troop. I think everyone is overlooking the facts and instead trying to compare the Tervigon to last edition. To be fair, I would have given it a 10/10 last edition, but right now it is still worth taking if you can appreciate that it's role has changed. Please don't charge it into enemy lines with no plan at all. In half of my games, the Tervigon just sat in the back and spawned while casting Iron Arm, and never got shot. It can do that still and still score. Play conservatively, (like in Venom cover...) and it is still just as tough to kill. Also, as a troop it can outflank with Hive Commander, where it can spawn and shoot. (7/10)
Example: Tervigon 195
                Tervigon, Electroshock Grubs 205

Hormagaunt Brood: When you think Tyranids, you think a swarm of claws and teeth absorbing bullets until you just run out... the other basic troop for Nids, the Hormagaunt has a slot boost over last edition with his lower cost and +3 to run moves.
        Adrenal Glands: Boy these are pricey! These got more expensive all over for giving fleet, but this is even for units that already have Fleet... inexplicable. Furious Charge usually won't be worth it. (4/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Same price as before and does the same thing. Disappointing, but still not bad per se... Poison is nasty business! If you actually want these guys to go hunting instead of just tarpitting I'd consider this heavily. (6/10)
Overall: Not a bad unit, and as troops that can move fast, they're good for getting far off objectives... They're guaranteed a 10" move with open terrain. Average run though will be at least 13", which is quite good for last turn grabs if you want to hide them in early turns. Again, Synapse is critical at how fast they can kill themselves. Roughly 5/12 models will die if your units fails Instinctive behavior and can't roll a 4+. (6/10)
Examples: 30 Hormagaunts 150
                  10 Hormagaunts 50
Tyranid Warriors: Ok, this is one of the more controversial units in the book. They are the same base cost as before and have no Eternal Warrior available. But, many people point to a Meta dependent on Strength 7, not 8... Could these guys be useful? It's a troops unit that's Synapse. With the changes to Synapse, these guys could be useful as a line-holder guaranteed not to run. These guys come stock with Devourers and Scything Talons. 
        Flesh Hooks: At a bit less than 5 points, you get frag grenades and 2 strength 4 shots, at 6". This isn't bad but Devourers are better. Cheap is the new black with Nids, so pick carefully, but Flesh hooks are good for killing that powerfist first. (6/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Standard poison, always good. These don't do THAT much but they aren't too costly. If you want to kill stuff up close these are ok, but that's not really their role. (5/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Better than Toxin for the added fleet, but pricier. I'd say they're needed if you plan to run a CC squad, but will you ever do that? (6/10)
        Spinefists: 3 TL shots strength 3, or Devourers? I'm inclined to go Devourers for superior range even if you miss out on ap 5 (Ha.) They aren't bad, but 12" is too short. (3/10)
        Deathspitters: +1 strength, Ap 5. This will increase your killing power by a lot, which is always a good thing. Not too pricey, and justifiable on a sit-back unit. (7/10)
        Scything Talons: Exchange 3 strength 4 shots for one extra attack? No thanks... (3/10)
        Rending Claws: If one must go CC, this is how. Cheap, and can kill 2+ saves. This isn't too bad. (6/10)
        Lashwhip and Bonesword: This is super pricey for Ap. 3, honestly it just raises the points on a fragile platform by too much. (4/10)
        Boneswords: Like above, but slightly cheaper, and now slower. Just not good. (3/10)
        Barbed Strangler: A cheap large blast? Why not? 36" is plenty for a babysitter squad, so really doesn't seem like a bad buy at all. Plus, pinning! (7/10)
        Venom Cannon: I wish this was better, but at strength 6 small blast it can't quite kill vehicles or infantry... take the Strangler. (5/10) 
Overall: Warriors aren't bad bare, but they get pricey FAST. There are too many things you "want" on them that cost points. Remember. Cheap is the new black. These are ideally a cheap Synapse unit that scores, not much more. (6/10)
Examples: 3 Warriors, Barbed Strangler 100
                5 Warriors, Adrenal Glands, Rending Claws 200

Ripper Swarm: Ooh boy. Yeah these are iconic, but they were notorious for being atrocious last codex. I'm keeping an open mind, but there were no fixes here. Swarms, they get stealth, and aren't scoring.
        Spinefists: Ok these aren't that bad I guess. A lot of shots, but not accurate and strength 3. Even twin-linked they'll miss a lot at BS 2. (4/10)
        Toxin: Yeah, poison. Lots of attacks, but making a t3 multi-wound model pricier isn't good. (4/10) 
        Adrenal Glands: Fleet is pretty useful here, as at least they can make CC, seeing as they can do nothing else. No shooting, no scoring, they're a distraction. (5/10) 
        Deep Strike: Again, a distraction, but at least they can get closer before they die right? Actually one could conceivably DS and take a back-field unit by surprise, like 10 cultists. I've seen nurglings used like that. (6/10) 
Overall: Troops that aren't scoring sums it up nicely... why would I ever use these? They're only 2 points cheaper than their wounds in gants, who can shoot and score. Yeah, that's a nope for me. (3/10)
Examples: 4 Rippers, Deep Strike 60

Genestealers: The cult favorite Stealers are remarkably similar to the past edition. Hint, they're the same. But, it's a new codex and open minds are needed. So, how do they fit in with the new book? 
        Scything Talons: for one extra attack these are very pricey, as there are no other benefits... Yikes. Loss of rerolls hurts here and these are too pricey on a pricey model to afford. (4/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Poison helps here as re-rolls equals more rends. If you upgrade, this is how. (7/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Priced more expensive even though they don't give Fleet here... just another inconsistency. Rends matter more than strength for Stealers, to really Furious Charge gives little here. (4/10)
         Broodlord: Well this little boss is like a prime with claws in the unit. I wish he was Synapse, but oh well. He still knows the Horror, which is a VERY handy little Psychic power, which makes him a worthwhile upgrade. (8/10)
         Acid Blood: Brood Lord only, same as always, way too pricey. (2/10) 
         Toxin Sacks: Again, re-rolling rends is nice. Costly but decent. (6/10)
         Adrenal Glands: Again, already fleet and strength does little. (4/10)
         Regeneration: Adding 50% to a units cost for that 4+ is too too much. (3/10) 
Overall: Genestealers are still a costly CC unit with no durability, little speed and no assault grenades. The Horror helps here, so I say Broodlords are a must. But, they lack instinctive Behavior... a key factor. Consider infiltrating this scoring unit. (5/10)
Examples: 5 Genestealers 70
                5 Genestealers, Broodlord 130
                10 Genestealers, Toxin, Broodlord 220

Troops overall: Well there are only a few options, all are "decent" except Rippers. One Tervigon still seems a staple, and then try outflanking Devilgants or bringing them as a screen. Gants are better now while Tervigons have merits, and will be the base of most troops. Try adding either a Hormagaunt screen, a warrior brood for Synapse or a small Genestealer brood to disrupt things. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Codex Tyranid Review Part II

Alright, here comes part two of my review of the new Tyranid codex. My goal is to focus on the present, and the competitive level of this book. However disappointing it may be comparing units to last edition, or units that are gone now, this has no impact on the current book's ability to win.

Part II:

HQ Choices:  Here comes a unit-by-unit review of the HQ choices, and how worthy each unit and upgrade is, plus how to best use each unit in your Tyranid army.

Hive Tyrant: This guy is the classic leader of the swarm, the Hive Mind's overseer of victory. Last edition he was pricey but a necessity to take, especially with Wings and Devourers. As a base model, he has lost 5 points and gained +1 BS, plus is now a Mastery Level 2 Psyker. This is a definite boost over the last edition!
        Prehensile pincer tail: May make a single extra attack at Strength 6 AP 5, which does not benefit from any upgrades or rules. This isn't really needed as an upgrade. Sure, extra hits are great, but a poor AP means I am not impressed, so it's probably not worth ten points. But, it's cheap. (4/10)
        Wings: Becomes a Flying Monstrous creature. This was a good upgrade before, now it is amazing because it is the cost of a Rhino, which is significantly cheaper. This is almost required on Tyrants, as it is far cheaper than before. (9/10)
        Indescribable Horror: Fear tests are on 3d6, take the 2 highest. No, sorry no. It's cheap, but does nothing as Tyrants are WS 8, so he'll almost always hit on 3s anyways. There are very few units this can help you against. Fear is bad, spending points on it is worse. Only use if specifically tailoring against an opponent bringing Chaos Space Marine Terminators. (2/10)
        Old Adversary: Rerolls ones to hit/wound in Close Combat: This isn't bad if you're building a Close Combat Tyrant or want to be prepared for Close Combat actually. It's the cost of a Grey Hunter, so pretty reasonable if you have the points, but not a must have. If you are gearing a Tyrant towards CC, this is a good idea. (5/10)
        Hive Commander: You may outflank one troops choice. The most expensive Tyrant ability, and the most tactical. It's not a bad bet if you'd like to throw a Tervigon into outflanking, which it is actually better at this edition than last... more on that later. It also stacks if you buy it on two Tyrants. This is a very valid choice because our troops are not as good as before, and positioning them is now more important. Try 30 gants outflanking into synapse range from a Flyrant, or a Tervigon popping out to claim a backfield objective.  (7/10) 
       Twin Linked Deathspitter: 3 Strength 5 shots. It's certainly not bad since it's about the cost of a gant. It's weakness is that it simply isn't as good as the other guns, despite it's low cost. (4/10)
        Twin-linked Devourer with Brainleech Worms: Same gun we remember, without the leadership penalty. No big loss honestly, as it is now on a better platform. This will and should be your weapon of choice, as it can light up infantry of your choice or light vehicles and Flyers. (8/10)
        Heavy Venom Cannon: A strength 9 small blast, AP 4. This isn't a bad choice for a walking Tyrant as it can damage vehicles well from range, or at least take of Hullpoints. But, it's a waste on Flyrants as it can't target flyers. If you want to walk this is a decent choice. (6/10)
        Stranglethorn Cannon: Strength 6 AP 5 Large Blast pinning. This is a decent anti-infantry, but we have better blast weapons for this role. Walking Tyrants are too pricey to be wasted on this weapon, and Flyrants shouldn't have blasts. (4/10)
        Electroshock grubs: A strength 5 haywire template: For 10 points, not too bad at all. Sadly, Thorax swarms lost their rule to shoot in addition to the other two weapons. Still, this is a good way to remove hullpoints on tough vehicles. Because it can't be used on flyers though, it's not a must take. (6/10)
        Desiccator Larvae: Fleshbane template: Good anti-infantry, but its usually not worth missing out on a Devourer shot to use it. (4/10)
        Shreddershard Beetles: Rending, shred Strength 3 template. Good for taking out 2/3+ armor saves and the Flyrant has the mobility to use it. If using a melee Tyrant, try tacking this on. (6/10)

Overall: (8/10) Tyrants are a great unit, but will usually follow a pattern. Wings and two Devourers will be the best combo to keep it cheap. Adrenal Glands are useful as well, but none of the Bioartifacts will be very effective here. Regeneration I would avoid, as the Tyrant has 4 wounds only.
Example: Tyrant, Wings, 2x Devourers with Brainleech Worms: 230
               Tyrant, Wings, LW/BS, Adrenal Glands, Old Adversary, Shreddershard Beetles: 260

The Swarmlord: He is the same as last edition statwise, but +1 BS. Seeing as how he has no shooting attacks, this hardly is a buff. In the last book he was considered a good beat-stick who was just a little slow. Since then he lost his ability to make opponents re-roll invulnerables, and added 5 points, plus went to Mastery Level 3. The loss of Biomancy hurts him the most. He is simply too expensive, at the same speed with less durability thanks to powers, less killing power, and less biomancy access, not to mention that he is even more expensive, if only slightly. He also has the locked 18" Warlord trait, which he had before, but now no longer gets a warlord trait in addition. Also, changes to Lashwhips means he no longer benefits from other models holding them, so another debuff.
Overall: Swarmy shouldn't be taken except in fun games. He's just not useful against way too many armies. (4/10)

Tyrant Guard Brood: This unit of guards used to be taken as a single man unit in case their Tyrant rolled Iron Arm, but now this is no longer the case. They are, quite simply, ablative wounds for Tyrants. If you happen to run a walking Tyrant, you should certainly take a unit of these guys. They are statistically the same as before once you include their CC weapon bonus, from Rending Claws and Scything Talons.
        Crushing Claws: Gives +1 Strength, Armorbane and Ap. 2 unwieldy: These will certainly murder anything they latch on to, but are slow. (5/10) 
        Lash Whip and Bonesword: Gives them a high initiative and they will kill things.Price is an issue, and they are tough enough to not be too concerned with initiative, but this will increase killing power dramatically. (4/10)
        Toxin Sacks: At 3ppm, these are a cheap way to boost the killing power of your guard, especially with Rending Claws. (7/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Again not too expensive, and the fleet bonus is massive if your Tyrant has it as well. In this case, it is very worth the points, and I would call it their best upgrade. These guys are a deathstar, to barrel into enemy lines. (8/10)
Overall: Tyrant guard themselves aren't the issue. They're not too costly, but they just aren't useful due to how bad walking Tyrants are. with only a 3+ armor save, Tyrants are best off flying, which leaves no place for the guard. If you decide to take a walking Tyrant, these are a must however. (5/10)
Example: 3 guard, Adrenal Glands

Old One Eye: The big bad Carnifex himself! He's a badass in Close combat, no questions asked, but is a solo carnifex going to make it? For every hit roll, he generates another attack, but is only WS 3... too low for a 220 point special character, I mean really? He regenerates, has a tail weapon that is one strength 4 rending hit... woo. The killer is that he isn't Synapse. The whole focus of this codex is Synapse or auto-lose, and any HQ slot that could be synapse and isn't is a waste of a slot.
Overall: Too price for a fex with only +1 attack and strength, when normal fexes can have guns and be in broods. Look elsewhere for good units. (4/10)

Tervigon: Ok, ignore last edition. He is not as good as he was then, which has 0% relevance to the codex right now. How good is he right now? Well, he's a 6 wound MC that can CREATE TROOPS. Just think on that again. He should now be a little less aggressive, but has a definite potential in the army. There stats are the same, but +1 initiative (screw you Wolf Priest!) Also, spawn happens after moving and so can be done after outflanking. ;)
        Crushing Claws: These up his combat ability, but really don't do that much for her. This isn't a line breaker beast, she's still best used by exploiting her toughness and spawn ability. (4/10)
        Cluster Spines: Large blast strength 5, but loses 4 strength 5 Ap. 4 shots to buy it. Not worth it in my mind, as blasts at close range are bad for all the gants. I would avoid. (5/10)
        Electroshock grubs: A strength 5 haywire template: For 10 points, not too bad at all. Sadly, Thorax swarms lost their rule to shoot in addition to the other two weapons. Still, this is a good way to remove hullpoints on tough vehicles. But she is not a close ranged beast, so not a must-take. (6/10)
        Desiccator Larvae: Fleshbane template: Good anti-infantry, but its usually not worth getting close to use it.  (3/10) 
        Shreddershard Beetles: Rending, shred Strength 3 template. Good for taking out 2/3+ armor saves, but she should never be that close. (4/10)
        Bioartifacts: Consider the Miasma cannon in this case, and this case only. She's a support beast, so range can suit her well, but don't expect to murder everything. Still it is not half bad. (6/10)
Overall: I will give the Tervigon a blurb in the troops section, where she can be much more effective. But, as an HQ she is not the best option in the slot. (6/10)
Example: Tervigon 195
                Tervigon, Electroshock Grubs 205
Tyranid Prime: This guy used is a 125 point independent character, but is the exact same as before except for points. He's base equipped with Scything Talons and a devourer. He's still S/T 5, 3+, and gives his WS6 BS4 to Warriors he joins. Consider attaching him to said Warriors to tank wounds, however he is now so pricey that that may not be a good option.
        Flesh hooks: Gains assault grenades and a strength 3 small blast. Pretty neat for a very small cost, but doesn't help the unit he's with. (7/10)
        Deathspitter: A devourer with strength and ap 5. For the points, this is a good gun to give him and use his BS. (7/10)
        Spinefists: free, but for one extra shot and twinlinked, you go to strength 3... not great. I'd much rather take a deathspitter really. (5/10)
        Scything Talons: free, gives +1 attack with the pair he comes with. Free is good, but shooting is better. (3/10)
        Rending Claws: Ok if you are going CC, these are better. Rending speaks for itself, and its cheap, and it gives +1 attack. (8/10) 
        Two Boneswords: Not bad, but pricey. I like this guy cheap but you can murder most MEQ characters with this. (6/10)
        Bonesword and Lashwhip: Again it's a bit of a buff and means he will dominate all MEQ characters in CC. (7/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Ooh yeah. Give him fleet, but plan for whatever unit he's joining to have it too. (7/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Not as needed, but will make him a murder machine. I'd advise if you take rending claws. (6/10)
        Acid Blood: Not enough wounds on him to matter, avoid. (3/10)
        Regeneration: Not enough wounds on him to matter, avoid. (4/10) 
        Bioartifacts: I would consider the Maw-claws of Thorax as they are barely more expensive than rending claws and have potentially large benefits. So yeah, take these if you have 5 points and have rending. (8/10)
Overall: This is the toughest to judge yet. On the one hand, his stats and ability are not nearly worth the cost you pay, compared to last edition. But, he's an independent character, and has synapse... That's all that matters. If your list is low on synapse, he can be good because you can hide him in mobs of gants. This guy goes best with Hordes, not Nidzilla. Compare him to last book and he's trash. But, look at the current books needs and what he can do, and you can justify running him. Also, consider him as ablative wounds on Venomthropes or other vulnerable mid-sized units.  (6/10)
Example: Tyranid Prime, Flesh hooks, Maw-Claws of Thorax 140

Deathleaper: Ok, remember what I said about taking synapse whenever you can? This is the only time you can break that rule. This sneaky little guy is the master assassin, and a huge pain to kill. Basically he has the mind eater warlord trait, and stealth, plus infiltrate and Deepstrike. He also doesn't scatter, is a teleport homer, 10 points cheaper and reduces the leadership of one model by d3 while alive. This is GREAT for psykers, especially combined with Shadow in the Warp. But that only lasts while he's alive... good thing he's tough as nails to kill. Stealth means he has a 2++ gtg save in area terrain, and he may only be snap-shot at... wow, is that great or what???? No flamers ever, no templates ever, and the stuff that hits (not much) has a tough cover save. Cast Dominion to bring him in synapse range after he goes to ground, and he immediately operates as normal! His homer ability should bring in Mawlocs, while he scuttles around taking targets of opportunity and staying alive. In CC he's rending with 5 attacks, at a VERY high weapon skill of 9, and assault grenades. But he's still only a t4 three wound model... so, don't let him stray too far from the horde. If he's in your opponents back lines he'll be assaulted and chopped up. He should be roughly halfway between your army and your opponents, where a charge would bring whatever unit dared assault into the range of your own units.
Overall: Take him in 2xFOC, as Flyrants are so great, but even consider him in lower points. This guy is invaluable for the smart, strategic player. Combo him with DS units though for full affect. (7/10)

HQ overall: Flyrants and Deathleaper are our best options by far, but primes get a mention if you need them in your list. Every list should have one Flyrant, but the second slot can be another flyrant or Leaper or the prime. The choice is yours, but I like 2 Flyrants in 1850 and under, because flyers are always a problem. I do think Deathleaper will make my 2000 point list however!

Woo, there's HQ choices done! I'll see when I can get to troops, hopefully tomorrow! What're your thoughs on the HQ choices?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Codex Tyranids review part I

So, the Tyranids are finally getting an update, old news. I just got access to the book, and after much reading, have decided to pen my initial thoughts. My blog was intended for tactics just as much as Battle Reports, but I've not really lived up to that. So, I aspire to do more with the new codex. This is an initial, math-hammer/theory-hammer only review of the codex, pre-playtest. It'll come in six sections: General Review, and the five Force Org slots, which I'll break into several articles. Bare in mind, I plan to rewrite this entire series in three months or so with a "play tested" edition of the same stuff. Many people are raging that this codex is the worst release since the last release. Seriously though, every book gets bad press, but Tyranids have gotten more than most it is true... How much of this is true, and how do we work with it? Read on... Note, that I will refer to points costs in number of Hormagaunts usually. Because multiples of five are nice. ;) All purchasable units and upgrades will get a 1-10 number on how good I think it is. Remember, these are opinions. You won't agree on everything with me, nor I with you.

Part I: 

General Review:  Here I will cover the basics of the codex that aren't exclusive to single units. Basically, it will be the Biomorphs, bioartifacts, Psychic Powers, Warlord Traits, and army special rules, etc...

First, Synapse: This is exactly what you think it is. No Eternal Warrior, no Feel no Pain, just Fearless. The only changes to this are that it may be extended by various upgrades... more on this later. A minuscule buff over the last edition just because of extension possibilities. 

Shadow in the Warp: This one is new, and arguably improved. But, it is arguably nerfed. The basics are that Psychic units with 12" are at -3 leadership. Note that this is NOT just for Psychic Checks! So a Farseer led unit of guardians is much more likely to run away now, plus his Psychic checks are limited. So, Psykers are usually 9 or 10 Leadership. in old Synapse, a Leadership 10 Psyker had exactly 108/216 possible results end in Success, or 50%. Now, there are 21/36 that end in success, or 58.3%. Leadership 9, before, had 81/216 pass, or 37% chance of passing. Now, they have a 15/36, or 41.7%. So yes, our Psychic defense is not quite as good as before. However, factor in deny the witch and any malediction in Shadows has a less than 50% chance of passing. In exchange, we lower Psykers Ld all the time, which will help with morale, spirit Leech, etc. (Don't forget Daemonic Instability in CC! That's going to hurt.) Also, laugh at Grey Knights. Overall? Very minor nerf. And other benefits mean we really can't complain, especially seeing what happened to Eldar runes. We by far have the best anti-psyker of this edition, with only Space Wolves beating us. My question is, does Shadows extend with Synapse range? Nothing says it does, but it really should. Hopefully an FAQ will fix this.

Instinctive Behavior: Ok, here comes some bad news. There are three charts now, not two. Feed, Lurk and the new Hunt. We now have tables, which you roll on if you fall back. Here you are!

Lurk: 1-3 fall back as if you failed morale.
4-5 may move freely, but is not slowed by terrain. May only shoot if in terrain. Can't charge.
6 Same as 4-5, gains stealth.

Not great. A 1-3 blows clearly, and is a nerf. Yikes. However, the 4-5 and 6 are better than it was in the old book, as we now have better choice of movement and potentially stealth, plus cover benefits. Get that 6 and go to ground an objective in cover for a 2++! Still, the bad outweighs the good here, and thus there is a minor nerf to instinctive behavior lurk. This is the most important table in my mind, as our support units/objective holders use it. 

Feed: 1-3 Inflict hits on unit equal to number of models, at average strength and Ap -, and can't do anything.
4-5 Can't run or shoot, must declare charge if in range. 
6 See above, but gain rage. 

This one is a clear nerf. Literally none of the results are as good as feed was last time, when it really didn't hurt. Sadly, swarm cannibalism is a sci-fi stereotype, so we must suffer. Limiting movement also sucks too. But, can move out of charge range oddly enough in the movement phase if you don't want to charge at least, you aren't forced to move anywhere. Also, one man units treat a 1-3 as a 4-5. 

Hunt: 1-3 Go to ground immediately. If fearless, see 4-5. 
4-5 Move as you want, must shoot closest unit if you can. No Run/Assault
6 See 4-5, gains preferred enemy. 

Not too harsh. All of these are ok other than the loss to fearless really. This is clearly the best compared to the other two, where 1-3 is meh instead of murderous, and 4-5 is basically just "no fearless" while 6 is pretty decent. This is by far the best for objective holders... if only we had any of those with Lurk. Sigh. 

Instinctive Behavior overall: Undoubtedly a nerf overall to us. This ain't pretty folks, as none of these are real benefits. Too many bad results to be happy. Basically, this means you MUST have Synapse, and it is more important than ever, or you will lose the unit's effectiveness. 

Close Combat Weapons: Not a new rule, but a note. Each PAIR of weapons counts as one weapon now, so two pairs = plus one attack. Two pairs of Scything Talons, etc. Not bad, but many units lost attacks so this essentially does nothing. Also, can't use effects of two weapons. Only place this matters is can't rend while using a Bonesword basically.

Warlord Traits: These are a new 6th feature, that every new codex has gotten. As always, 6 results are possible...
1. Nature's bane: Every turn, a forest within 12" can become Carnivorous. (Every unit inside takes d3 Strength 5 hits in their shooting phase, on rear armor if vehicles.) This is literally awful. It applies to Tyranids in the forest, and we are more likely to go through them than our opponents are, as no one will advance towards us. If you roll it, don't even use it, unless it gets FAQd to not affect Nids like it should.
2. Heightened Senses: Warlord and units within 12" gain Night vision. Cool? Not useful as none of our warlords can shoot far, and frankly none of our other shooty units. Useful if you have Biovores nearby turn 1, but by 5 you are dead or up the board and close enough anyways. Very minorly useful. 
3. Synaptic Lynchpin: Synapse increases to 18". Not great, but always useful at least. Good for Flyrants. Combo with Dominion and it's pretty good. For a free trait not bad at all. Best one so far.
4. Mind Eater: Receieve 2 points for killing an Independent Character in a Challenge. Pretty good, as it ensures no character will accept your challenge ever, just to not risk it. But if you catch one and whittle his squad down, he'll be all alone eventually and must accept. That's when this gets useful. If you see a Librarian on a Tac squad, it'd be well worth dropping your Flyrant down to assault.
5. Digestive Denial: One piece of terrain in enemy DZ has cover reduced by -1. Can't be used on bought terrain. This is pretty decent, as everyone will be hiding from us. Good for Ruins so our opponent can't have too much cover against the sheer dakka we can lay down at close ranges, so pretty good. 
6. Adaptive Biology: Once the warlord takes a wound, he gains FnP at the start of his next turn. A bit annoying that it takes a turn to activate, but realistically not bad at all. FnP is super useful on MCs, so this is a trait worth having. 

Warlord Trait final thoughts: I still prefer Strategic. Some of these are downright useless, but a few are kinda nifty. 1-2 are sad, but after that it gets a little more respectable. At the very least it's worth considering this over the BRB traits. I will be rolling strategic however. 

Psychic Powers: Many people will complain that the loss of Biomancy is a nerf. They're totally right. But it happened, and now we must look at our now options with eyes unclouded by bias and disappointment. The past is dead, look to the future. 

Primaris: Dominion: Extend Synapse by 6". Not great really, but handy occasionally. As a primaris it could be worse, but could be much better. Good if you happened to roll the Warlord trait too for a mighty bubble of Synapse. A lot of people are ripping on this because they look at it with a 5th edition point of view for Synapse. But, Synapse is way more important now than ever, so this is actually not bad. GW is literally telling us "get in Synapse or lose the unit". This is a way to save some units. 
1. Catalyst: Give the caster and one unit within 12" FnP. Ok, clearly the best of the bunch. Roll it and grin, as that's two FnP units. Better than endurance honestly. Not much to say, don't drop this for Primaris. 
2. The Horror: One enemy within 24" must take a pinning check at -2 Leadership. Situational. This is good against Tau, as many of their units will just drop to the dirt easily. Necrons, Daemons, etc, this is less useful and should be exchanged. Also combos with Shadows on Psykers, just saying. Again, pin Grey Knights with EASE. Many see this as Pseudo-assault grenades on Stealers, but we'll see in their entry. 
3. Onslaught: 24" blessing, a unit may run and then shoot. Similar to before, but not great. However, it is useful if cast on FMCs, who gain a 2d6 run. Otherwise, it is useful to keep your bug guns moving, because frankly Nids must advance as a whole Synapse changes means no one can afford to be left behind. Cast on a fleet Dakkafex unit to get them moving fast while blasting away. Usually worth keeping.
4. Paroxysm: 24" Malediction, -d3 to WS and BS of target. I think this is the second best power. It helps a ton against Eldar and Tau especially, and it affects vehicles. Note that this can even target Flyers. So yeah, screw Vendettas and all that. It's best against non-MEQ units, where a 3+ forces BS 3 to snapshot. So Pathfinders, Broadsides, etc beware. If this stacks with itself (talk to local TOs/opponent) then it can combo to bring good shooting units way down, but I think it'd usually be better to hit two separate units. You should never trade this out. 
5. Psychic Scream: 6" Nova, enemies roll 2d6+2 and subtract leadership, and take that many wounds. No armor/cover. This is pretty bad to me. Tervigons/Swarmlord/Zoeys will never be close enough to use this. On Flyrants I'd consider it on a low Leadership army, or heavily Psychic army (remember Shadows). Against Nonpsychic/high Leadership, consider the Primaris here.
6. Warp Blast: Same as before, 18" lance of Strength 10 AP 2. Not 1 anymore, 2. Can also be a Strength 5 ap 3 small blast. Warp Charge two, so Tervigons reroll this. I'll deal with Zoeys in their entry, but Flyrants should usually keep this. Good anti-flyer, good anti-vehicle, good anti-Daemon prince if it goes off. Only against a Green Tide type list would I potentially take the Primaris, as it does limit you to one other gun if used. 

Final Psychic Thoughts: Almost all of these can be used, and the Primaris will cover up the mentioned weaknesses before. Yes Biomancy is better due to Iron Arm, but a lot of these can cripple opponent's effectiveness or just buff us in more Tyranid-y ways. A minor nerf, but not all is lost. They're definitely worth using! 

Biomorph list: The gun upgrades will be covered in each unit's entry as it varies vastly by unit. 

Close Combat Biomorphs: These are basically for Tyrants and Warriors/Shrikes/Primes.

Rending Claws: Costs one Hormagaunt: Good and cheap and deadly. Combo with Toxin Sacs for rerolls on lower Toughness guys and you're in good shape. You all know how to rend, but they are basic Ap. 5 which is cool too. Minor buff over last edition. If you want Warriors in CC, this is your best bet, but that's a separate issue. On Tyrant's there is essentially no point. (7/10)

Pair of Boneswords: Cost three Hormagaunts: So a bit more expensive, sadly. They are now Ap. 3, and cause Instant Death on a 6. Better chance of Instant death due to multiple attacks, but no more "ignore saves" and a points boost means this isn't a great option for warriors or Tyrants. Very cost prohibitive. (3/10)

Lashwhip and Bonesword: Costs four Hormagaunts: Again more expensive, bonesword is same as above. Lashwhips no longer reduce opponents initiative, but instead raise the wielder's by 3, so worse for assaulting into cover or for supporting other units like Lashguard with the Swarmlord. Again, this is costly. But on Tyrants, it's the best CC you can find if you choose that path. He'll rarely strike last and will kill many things he touches. (5/10)

Major Biomorphs:

Toxin Sacks: Costs two Hormagaunts. A good upgrade, it gives Poison for that re-roll to wound. This is a good choice on any Monstrous Creature you want to go into CC. However, not many of those are viable. (6/10)
Adrenal Glands: Costs three Hormagaunts. More expensive than before? I ain't even mad. At 5 more points, it gives fleet in addition to Furious Charge. This is huge for basically any MC that didn't have it before, so everyone but Trygons. If you can spare the points, (and I think Nids will do best bare-bones) then this is the upgrade to buy. On Carnifex it's a massive difference maker, even on shooty ones so they can get close, charge late game, and run with Onslaught.  (8/10)
Acid Blood: Costs three Hormagaunts: If an opponent wounds you in CC, he takes an initiative test. Fail, and take a Strength 5 Ap 2 hit. But, who is hitting you in Close Combat enough to do a lot of wounds, and is low initiative? Only a few units, who are all high toughness. This isn't a great buy, but there's far worse. (4/10)
Regeneration: Costs six Hormagaunts: This is identical to It Will Not Die, but passes on a 4+, and it theoretically stacks with IWND. However, there is no way to get both. This isn't cheap, but it can help quite a bit because you're more likely than before to gain a wound back if you've only taken a few. At the end of its wounds, it can help an MC stumble along a bit longer. This is prone to focus firing however, as it only happens at the end of the turn. (7/10)

Bio-Artifacts: Can be bought by Tyrants, Tyranid Primes, Trygon Primes, and Tervigons.

The Maw-Claws of Thorax: Cost two Hormagaunts: They work identical to Rending Claws, but once you get your first kill up close they give you preferred enemy against that codex. At only slightly pricier than rending claws, on a Prime you can easily justify the slight increase. This also affects shooting, and he could then give it any unit he's a part of. Worth the increase if you were going to buy a Prime just claws. Less worth it on MCs, but if you are confident you'll get in CC it's not bad at all. The best part is the low cost, not being game-breaking. (7/10)  

Miasma Cannon: Costs five Hormagaunts: It's a gun 36", 2+ poison AP 4 small blast. Can be fired as a template, same stats. For five points LESS buy a venom cannon, which is strength 9 and will almost always wound on a 2. And can hurt vehicles, cause Instant Death, and is cheaper. Dear god. If you want to throw this on a Tervigon or Prime in a support role it could possibly kill things, but... really? (3/10)

Norn Crown: Costs eight Hormagaunts: It gives +6" to Synapse, like Dominion. Only problem is, Dominion is almost free and this isn't. No, not free at all. This is roughly 4 times what would be an appropriate points cost. Never buy, ever, unless being bribed or making a bet like "I can win with the worst list possible". (1/10) 

Ymgarl Factor: Costs eight Hormagaunts: This is supposed to replace my beloved Ymgarls? Ew. Every assault phase, choose +1 to one of the following. Attacks, Strength, Armor Save. This is the only way to get a 2+ save on a non Tyrannofex, but is only assault. This is just way too costly as most wounds will be taken in shooting when this does nothing at all. Maybe fun for a Trygon Prime? (5/10) 

The Reaper of Obliterax: Costs nine Hormagaunts: This is a special Lashwhip and Bonesword, with more than double the cost. In exchange you get +1 strength and Shred. Or, buy a Lashwhip and bonesword, and Toxin Sacks, which will pretty much be the same for cheaper. This is only even a fathomable choice for Trygon Primes who can't buy the normal LW/BS. Even then, way too costly in my mind, but the initiative boost is kinda nice. (3/10)

Codex Impressions: Powers are pretty decent, workable to be sure. We have many bad options and a few good ones, I anticipate this books problem will be in variety not power. Stick to the right things and you can be fine, but there will be many similar Nids armies. And, Synapse is the number one rule. No one can be alone, they MUST be babysat. Out of LoS termagants on an objective used to be great, but now? No chance. Synapse synapse synapse, or die. Lots of things are now focused on expanding that synapse range, with a theoretical 30" synapse range. 18" is more likely though, as you'd need to roll the right warlord trait (unlikely) and but the Norn Crown (even less likely). It's sad that our armies unique rule isn't a benefit, but the threat of punishment. But hey, forging narratives means Humans killing leader-bugs. That's just science (fiction). What are you thoughts and impressions?