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.