Competitive 40k tactics and Battle Reports with the Tyranid Codex

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Batrep 2/15: Tyranids vs SM/SW 2000 2x FOC

Hello readers! I have another Battle Report, my second with the new book. This is another 2000 point game, with a double Force Organization chart. My apologies, but there is again a proxy, with the large castle counting as an Imperial Bastion. There are also three not fully painted models sadly, two Tyrannofex and the Exocrine (which is a conversion, based on a Trygon and Carnifex kitbash). My opponent is bringing a Drop Pod SM/SW list. Yikes! Note that all of the white circles on the board are Drop Pods. 

Here's my list: 

Flyrant, Devourers, Hive Commander (-1 to opponent's reserves)
Flyrant, Devourers
Flyrant, Devourers
10 gants
20 gants
30 gants
3 Biovores

And my opponents list:

Marneus Calgar (+2 VP for slaying my Warlord in a challenge)
Techmarine, Combi Plas
Techmarine with Servo harness,Combi Plas
6 Honor Guard with Power Axes, one Thunder Hammer (Drop Pod)
6 Tac Marines with Plasma/combi Plas (Drop Pod)
6 Tac Marines with Plasma/combi Plas (Drop Pod)
5 Sternguard with Gravs/Combi Gravs and one Heavy Flamer (Drop Pod)
5 Sternguard with Meltas/Combi Meltas and one Heavy Flamer (Drop Pod)
5 Devestators with Missiles with Flakk (Drop Pod)

Rune Priest with JotWW, Living Lightning
~7 Grey Hunters with Plasma/combi Plasma, Wolf Standard (Drop Pod)

Psychic Powers:

Flyrant 1: Dominion, Warp Lance
Flyrant 2: Onslaught, the Horror
Flyrant 3: Paroxysm, the Horror
Tervigon: Onslaught
Zoanthrope: Dominion

Tigurius: Precognition, Prescience, Scryer's Gaze

Deployment: Hammer and Anvil
The Mission: Crusade (3 objectives) My opponent places two of them in his deployment zone, far away from me.

First turn: I win the roll and defer first turn to my opponent.

Deployment Marines: *Crickets*

Deployment Nids: See below picture. 2 Flyrant in reserve, one on top of the Bastion. Tervigon will outflank. Gants are ringing the outside of the Bastion so he can not get in melta range. All MCs are Shrouded thanks the VenomBastion and are in terrain for a 2/3++ cover save.

Space Marines turn 1: Release the Pods of War! The Wolf Pod lands to my front right.

5 Grav-gun Sternguard land by my Tyrannofex, and the Melta-Sternguard land to the left of them. 

Calgar, Honor Guard and Tigurius all pop out a little farther back, and behind the center fortress. 
His two Sternguard squads both target my Tyrannofex, and only do one wound! That's why Venomthropes are my favorite unit! His Rune Priest then casts Jaws on my other Tyrannofex, only for me to pass the Initiative test on a 2! This is the first time in 6th edition I have had an MC pass a Jaws check, so I'm happy! 

Tyranids turn 1: I shoot up the two sternguard in front of me, and prepare for a massive gant assault. But, he fails both Morale checks thanks to Calgar, and I fail both charges! Fortunately my Tyrannofex kills his Drop Pod to make up for it, netting me first blood. 

On the other flank, my Flyrant and Tyrannofex go after his Wolf Squad. I kill most of the Space Wolves, but his Priest survives with a few friends after some hot saves. 

Space Marines turn 2: Two Pods drop down, one empty and the other with a Tactical Plasma squad. His Devestators walk on the board. 

His other Tactical squad lands farther back, where his objectives are situated. 

My opponent then shoots at my Flyrant, 6 Plasma shots net 5 hits despite only hitting on 6s! This yields 4 wounds, and I fail every single cover save... My opponent then casts Jaws free of Shadows and kills my Tyrannofex. 

Tyranids turn 2: I focus both Flyrants, fresh from Reserves, and remove his Rune Priest and squad from existence. Good riddance!  Exocrine then kills 4 Tactical Marines from the Plas squad that got my Flyrant. I also poke my Tyrannofex out into a position where his honor guard could charge him... I want them in the open for my Exocrine, and so they can be tied up by gants. 

Turn 3 Marines: He takes the bait with his Honor guard! There is little shooting as he is mostly falling back (willingly). He makes the charge and naturally kills the TFex. 

Tyranid turn 3: The Exocrine kills one Guard and wounds Calgar, (note that Tigurius is at 1 wound due to earlier shots and a Perils) I then charge him with gants. He is hot on saves and only loses one model, and kills a ton of gants, but is still tied up. 

I advance both Flyrants, one full speed and the other just enough to see his Tactical squad who fell back. Between them, the squad is destroyed and he is down to a single troops choice. 

Turn 4 Marines: His shooting manages to ground and kill one Flyrant, and his Honor Guard finish off the gants.

Turn 4 Tyranids: My Tervigon outflanks and spawns 10 gants. Between shooting I take his last Troop down to three Marines with one Techmarine. I also make a mistake and shoot at his Honor guard again... I kill two and he falls back, getting 9 free inches towards my Tervigon! A huge mistake as he could never have reached my objective due to the gants all around, but I lent him some extra inches. My Flyrant swoops into a Ruin to hide and takes potshots at the Tac squad.

Turn 5 Marines: His Devestators and various Plasma take my Flyrant down to 2 wounds left, only for a single Sternguard survivor to hit, wound, and ground him to kill him! This gives Warlord to my opponent sadly. His Honor guard charge and kill my gant squad.

Turn 5 Nids: My Tervigon spawns 9 more gants and I shoot at his Tactical squad again, but he has a single Marine survive the Biovores and Fleshborers.

If the game ends now, I win 5-4 with Linebreaker (Tervigon), First Blood and one objective vs an objective and Warlord.

The game goes on!

Turn 6 Marines: He guns down some gants, and his Honor Guard charge my Tervigon. Tigurius then Force Weapons her to death, killing the surviving Gants.

Turn 6 Nids: My Biovores are ace and I kill the last Marine on his objective. We call the game here as there is no way we can change the final score in a turn 7.

Tyranid Victory, 4-1!

Final thoughts: I made a few mistakes, but my army performed exactly as planned. I really should have taken the first turn in Hindsight however, so I could start my Flyrants on the board, and turn 1 fly them off to guarantee three on turn 2. Still, the BastionThrope set up worked very well in blunting his Alpha-strike. Dice went back and forth, where I was lucky to survive his first turn almost unscathed, but then he was lucky to roll 5/6 hits while snap-shotting Plasmas the next turn.  Overall it was very balanced, where his saves would be hot one moment and cold the next. My dice were very average over the game, which is just fine. Given how stupid it is for Tyranids to play against Jaws in a Drop Pod, I am happy with how the game went despite my disadvantage on objectives.

On the performance of my list itself, it has been criticized a lot for being too static... I think it will work just fine. My list is very very durable, and is incredibly hard to Alpha-Strike. I think that in a game with even objectives, I have very good offs of holding at least half, and at that point my outflanking forces plus three Flyrants can either contest one or kill enough scoring units to be at an advantage. I doubt this list will blow out many opponents or give me many tablings, but I think my BastionThrope approach will net me many narrow victories.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Codex Tyranids Review Part V

Fast attack has to me, always felt a bit overlooked. I admit I was guilty of this myself, as I almost always left the FA slots unused. Last edition however was almost exclusively limited to Gargoyles thanks to some overpriced, fragile units. However, they should not be overlooked now, as there are some improved units in here.

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

Tyranid Shrike Brood: These flying Warriors are identical to before, with a points drop. They are still vulnerable to Instant Death, and also have a Guardsmen save, but multiple wounds and their speed means they are pretty tough in cover. 
        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 good, and Shrikes are meant to assault units.  (6/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Better than Toxin for the added fleet, but pricier. You should be able to get close enough with their jump move that this isn't a must.  (5/10)
        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. But, Shrikes are served well by an extra CC attack.  (6/10)
        Scything Talons: Exchange 3 strength 4 shots for an extra attack, this isn't bad,  but there are better options.(5/10)
        Rending Claws: If one must go CC, this is how. Cheap, and can kill 2+ saves. This is pretty good if you do go with Shrikes. (7/10)
        Lashwhip and Bonesword: This is super pricey for Ap. 3, honestly it just raises the points on a fragile platform by too much. (5/10)
        Boneswords: Like above, but slightly cheaper, and now slower. Not bad, but gets pricey. (4/10)
        Barbed Strangler: A cheap large blast? Why not? But, consider that your shrikes will now no longer be running. Not needed for a CC squad, but only missing one attack if you take it. (6/10)
        Venom Cannon: I wish this was better, but at strength 6 small blast it can't quite kill vehicles or infantry... take the Strangler if you want a gun on Shrikes. (4/10)  
Overall: If you lack forward synapse, these guys can be a good cheap assault and support unit. Unfortunately they are very fragile, so be prepared to take an indirect route to assault where they jump from cover to cover. But, remember that options don't have to be the same for each model and you can hide some real killing power in there!  (5/10)
Example: 3 Shrikes, Rending Claws 105
               5 Shrikes, Toxin Sacks, Flesh hooks, Scything Talons, One set of Lashwhip and Bonesword 205

Ravener Brood: These snakey guys are very similar to Shrikes statistically. Trade synapse and wings for the Beast type, which includes fleet. These guys are hard to take because of how similar they are to Shrikes. Their main selling point is in +1 initiative and the ability to move through terrain without any consequence to movement. 
        Rending Claws: No loss in attacks, but now rending. Raveners are essentially a pure CC unit, so this is an essentially mandatory upgrade that lets them threaten any unit and isn't very costly. (8/10) 
        Spinefists: At very cheap, you get a 3 shot TL gun. This is less than a gant, but won't likely be used as Raveners should be running or assaulting almost every turn. However if you have spare points, this isn't bad for lots of extra shots. (6/10)
        Devourers: The damage here is almost identical to Spinefists, but costlier for extra range. However, I wouldn't make the investment. (4/10)
        Deathspitter: The most powerful gun available is potentially quite deadly, but because you want to run or assault, I feel 10 is too many points to invest in a gun you may or may not use. (3/10)
        The Red Terror: This guy finally got put back in the book, and is a very interesting character indeed! 6 attacks on the charge at WS 6, but no rending. However, if 4 hit (average on what is often a 3+) then you simply can remove an adjacent model who isn't Very Bulky or Extremely Bulky. This is great for nuking that Terminator armor character, but they do get one Invulnerable save to survive. However, he's very costly, almost the same as 3 Raveners. Since many current "good" armies don't have strong melee characters I don't think he's a must have, but he gets bonus points for the fear factor (NO ONE will want to challenge this guy, just in case their super special model gets completely removed.) and for how cool his rules are. (6/10)
Overall: Raveners are tricky because they're similar to Shrikes with no Synapse. If you take them, they have one role. Barrel towards your opponent, ignoring terrain, and multi-assault and kill a ton of units if they aren't dealt with. But, make sure there are some other units available to get in the way, as they will be a top priority for any general. These need a list based around them, as on there own can be shot to pieces. (7/10)
Example: 9 Raveners, Rending Claws 315

Sky Slasher Brood: If you happen to like the Forge World models for Flying Rippers, then I advise you to look at pictures and not buy them. I hate to be pessimistic, but this unit is just that bad. 
        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. (4/10) 
Overall: Ugh. These are point-for-wound equal to Gargoyles, but with ID, less attacks on the charge, lower WS/BS/I and no gun base. They're a fast tarpit, but all the units you'd want to tarpit would be even worse off against gargoyles. This is sadly a case of a unit priced the same as a unit in the same slot that does everything better. However, if you have the models, then try them as a cheap tarpit hugging cover until you surprise a Long Fang unit or such. But, MCs will ID these guys, so watch put for that... ( 2/10) 
Example: 5 Sky-Slashers 90

Gargoyle Brood: I loved these fellows in 5th edition but never squeezed them into my lists in 6th... this was however more a product of my design than the unit. A great unit before, they had blinding venom changed to a single poison 6+ attack with blind, and had their upgrades increase in cost. 
        Adrenal Glands: Fleet makes these guys scary-fast on the assault. This has merits if you want to hit a unit in the face turn 2, and strength 4 will make vehicles run for the hills. (7/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Poison makes these a fast unit that can hurt anything, but remember their role. If you want that role to be MC hunting, here's your stop. (5/10)
Overall: The most important trick to using these guys is to give them a single role. If it's as a screen for cover, don't make them too pricey. But if you want a fast cheap assault wave, try giving them one or the other upgrade (I think both is too much). They can hunt MCs or Vehicles, and are an amazing screening/tarpit due to their size and speed. Remember that EACH model has a blinding attack, so if you hit with 10 attacks, then your opponent must take 10 blinding checks! He won't break out of that combat any time soon... I think the goal here is to get a cheap fast wave of lots of bodies... the more models in the unit, the better!  (7/10)
Example: 30 gargoyles, 180
               30 gargoyles, Adrenal Glands 240

Harpy: This guy is the old 5th edition FMC who was overlooked first for lack of model, and now for the unit he shares a kit with. How deserving is the "little brother" of the Tyranid Flying Monstrous Creatures? He comes stock with a Twin-linked stranglethorn cannon, and may drop Spore Mines as he flies over units. Also, he halves the initiative of any unit he charges, so watch out for any multi-charge opportunities.
        Twin-Linked Heavy Venom Cannon: For the price of one gant, go to a Strength 9 blast? Sounds great! But, remember what role you want the Harpy to have... The Cannon means he has little ranged anti-infantry and isn't great vs Vehicles... if you want to go this route, have a plan (Biovores) for enemy infantry at range. (6/10)
        Stinger Salvo: Adding 4 strength 5 shots for a few points is not bad at all, and can help glance a vehicle or kill those last few wounds. This is hardly a must-have, but if you have the points, why not? (6/10)
        Cluster Spines: Adding a Strength 5 Large Blast? I like it! This combos very well with the Stranglethorn, because two blasts are better than one! (7/10)
Overall: Just have a plan for this guy. Either a Venom Cannon for hull point reduction at range, or go double large blast to murder infantry. Yes, he's a fragile cannon, so always touch area terrain and try to present bigger targets to your opponent, but he is actually a very useful unit. (6/10)
Example:  Harpy, Cluster Spines 150
                Harpy, Heavy Venom Cannon 140

Hive Crone: This guy has been a very controversial unit since he came out... his damage output is potentially brutal, with a strength 8 Vector Strike, 4 Haywire missiles and a Strength 6 flame template. However, he is also a very fragile unit.. He's much better vs vehicles than a Harpy, but a template and Vector Strike could requite getting close. Those haywire missiles make him a great anti-flyer unit however. 
        Stinger Salvo: Adding an extra gun to a model who already has way more than it can fire feels like a waste of points to me. (3/10)
        Cluster Spines: Same as above, the Crone has plenty of guns as it is. (3/10)
Overall: He is a beast with damage output, and can kill a lot of units, but just like the Harpy can get gunned down by a determined opponent. Again, cover hopping is crucial for survival, as well as target saturation. Take multiple, or none, in decent sized games. (7/10)
Example: Hive Crone 155

Spore Mine Cluster: For minimal points, drop three models near your opponent for some fun mind games! At half the cost of before, Spores are no longer random, and instead can move at half-speed anywhere they want. A fun unit to be sure.
Overall: Don't expect anything wild, but an opponent can easily panic and shoot them after they Deep Strike in, and waste a whole units shooting. If you have the points, they're a fun distraction. I wouldn't recommend adding models, as once the unit is targeted, it will die thanks to Toughness 1. (5/10)
Example: 3 Spore Mines 15

Fast Attack Overall: I think that most Tyranid lists will have either an empty Fast Attack slot, or will fill all three. Many of the units here rely on target saturation due to their fragility. However, many of the units have terrific speed and potential damage dealing. Crones in multiples are a terrifying thought for almost every army in the game, and with 9 Raveners added in for flavor will worry even the most seasoned Tau player. Either build a list designed to close with the enemy, or a much tougher list that lacks in speed. But, Fast Attack is a bad place to be caught in the middle of the fence. If you decide to just add one unit in "to fill points" it will be isolated and torn apart. Have a plan for the Fast Attack slot, either to attack en mass or to sit on the shelf. Used properly, and this is a very promising slot. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Codex Tyranid Review Part IV

Everyone who had even heard of Tyranids in 5th edition knew how crowded our Elites were... how do they fare now? Elites are traditionally a very crowded army slot, but some of the choices there have disappeared due to lack of model (My Doom + 2 Ymgarl configuration of 5th edition took a bit of a nerf). Still, the codex is measured by the power of what is there here and now...

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

Hive Guard brood: The auto-take unit of 5th edition turned into a more questionable choice during 6th edition. Now that it's rules have been updated to match the edition, it has taken a slight drop in BS and a small increase in points. However, note that the Impaler cannon now completely ignores LoS and cover saves, which is much easier to use as a rule. 
        Shockcannon: This new type of gun is hard to figure out. Ultimately though, you're paying for a range decrease, and going from 2 shots to a blast, but Haywire makes it suited for anti-vehicle. Blast and haywire are a bit conflicting though honestly. This gun has taken a lot of crap from the internet, but I say it isn't half bad. Range is short but 3 shots will likely hit all and then it's very likely to just strip 3 Hull Points from a normal vehicle. Cover, range, and points make this the weaker option however. (5/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Added points for CC special rules on a shooting unit... that's a no. Too pricey for what you get, but re-rolls on runs do help range a tiny bit. (4/10)
        Toxin Sacks: Like above, but purely CC with no other possible benefits. Pass. (3/10)
Overall: A minor nerf, a minor buff, and a slight points increase means these are not an auto take by any stretch... But on the other hand, these are not a bad choice at all, and can threaten vehicles and medium infantry still. (6/10)
Example: 3 Hive Guard 165

Lictor Brood: The perfect bio-weapon and boogie man has been a laughing stock for a few years now... But, a decent points drop and the addition of Infiltrate as a special rule means a few of his special rules are more likely to be used now. Hit and Run is also a very nice touch. 
Overall: These are fairly balanced now, and can fit into a list if designed to. Lictors are cheaper, better and still hit hard in CC. They still, however, have trouble taking a punch. Stealth helps, but threat overload and careful placement is key. Only take if you have a play for these guys. Going to ground in terrain yields a 2+ cover save however, and they can have units (like Mawlocs) deepstrike off of their pseudo-teleport homer even when gone to ground. (6/10) 
Example: 3 Lictors 150

Zoanthrope Brood: These guys had the floor ripped out from under them with the Psychic power changes and removal of the Mycetic Spore. These fellows had everything good about them last edition taken away. They are also the perfect example of my view of the new Tyranid codex. Forget what you once knew, everything works differently now! They now operate as a Brotherhood of Psykers, so every brood gets Warp Lance and one power.
Overall: Only getting one power means that one Zoanthrope is, in my opinion, more points efficient. At 50 points a pop, this is the single cheapest way to add Synapse to a list. Cast Dominion and get a great synapse range. This alone makes the Zoanthrope a good unit, thanks to the need for Synapse. Three is a great deterrent of vehicles, but one can be hid out of sight easily. (7/10)
Example: 1 Zoanthrope 50

Venomthrope Brood: Woo-hoo! This was pegged as the biggest boost in the codex, and I couldn't agree more! 5+ cover save turns into Shrouded, and a points decrease. Let me clear one thing up though. The Venomthrope gives Shrouded to models in 6", and units with at least one shrouded model gain the full benefits of shrouded for the entire unit. So yes, this applies to the whole unit. 
Overall: A boost in cover saves to usually a 3++ is ace for Tyranid Monstrous creatures. People like to complain that Tau still ignore cover, but they can only do this on a few units at a time... and most of your army can remain intact. Also, if deployed in a Bastion, range is then measured from the hull. A huge boost, and now a must-take unit for any foot based Nid list. (9/10)
Example: 1 Venomthrope 45 + Bastion 75

Haruspex: This new Monstrous Creature means we can now technically put an MC in every single slot... this guy is an all new unit with a beautiful model, designed to gobble up all units in his way. He generates extra attacks on the charge for wounds inflicted and gets one wound back if he causes at least one wound. Not bad, but 5 wounds on a slow walking MC.
        Regenerate: Not bad, as he could potentially get two wounds back in a turn. I don't like it though as he will take most wounds to shooting and can be focused down easily. (5/10)
        Adrenal Glands: Fleet and Furious charge as usual. Fleet is great for this slow guy, and FC gives him Strength 8 on the charge, not bad. (7/10)
        Toxin Sacks: This will improve his killpower and guarantee that most hits will wound, but this guy is pricey enough without more upgrades. (5/10)
Overall: Too pricey for his rules and stats, I'm afraid. Too few attacks, too low of a WS, and a slow MC. A Carnifex is 40 points less for the same speed, -1 wound but more attacks and strength. Acid Blood is too much of a niche upgrade that you have to pay for. Take that and Crushing Claws away and you'd have a much better base model, but oh well. (4/10)
Example: Haruspex, Adrenal Glands 175

Pyrovores brood: The awkward adopted child of the last codex that everyone loved to hate. Sweet model though! Many people joked that GW would boost its sales by making it overpowered through the roof. +1 wound and attack, and less points sure does help the walking Heavy Flamer. I'm also going to ignore the stupid wording of it's explode rule. We all know it isn't supposed to hit every model on the board! 
Overall: A few minor buffs take this boy from the worst in the game to simply the worst in the Elites slot. He is, at least, better now than Rippers. Actually he is hurt most by the lack of Pod. Three 6th Ed. Pyros in a 5th Ed SPod would be a pretty good unit. Theoretically you could have 3 hide somewhere to repel the enemy if they advance for some reason. (3/10) 
Example: 3 Pyrovovers 120

Elites Overall: Elites is much less crowded than it was before. Venomthropes are the standout, but aren't too great at being spammed. Zoanthropes are an easy fix to Synapse woes. These two are the most obvious choices to me, but Lictors and Hive Guard have a place in the list if you have a plan for them. Just be careful with these two units, as they are both fragile and take at least one turn usually to position correctly.