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?