The Prime is basically a HQ Tyranid Warrior with +1 to the majority of its stats. Basic wargear is a pair of scything talons and a devourer. It is also is a synapse creature and independent character. The Prime does have another special rule, Alpha Warrior, which gives +1 WS and BS to any Tyranid Warrior unit the Prime is attached to.
While not as flexible as the Hive Tyrant the Prime does have some room to adjust. Various combat upgrades can be given to the Prime such as a lash whip, bonesword, dual boneswords and rending claws. Limited shooting upgrades are available in the flavors of a deathspitter or spinefists.
The Tyranid Prime is more close combat focused so it’s best to stick to that. A nice setup is lash whip, bonesword and adrenal glands. This makes the Prime S6 I6 on the charge and will deliver a serious beat down on typical foes wounding mostly on a 2+ and striking before most things. It also has the lash whip if charging into terrain.
How it works
The Tyranid Prime is a simple creature and has two different roles in the army. Place it with a Tyranid Warrior unit to make the unit more shooty, lets face the fact that adjusting the weapon skill is still going to make the Warrior unit hit on a 3+ mostly anyway, but a decent size Warrior unit with deathspitters hitting on a 3+ is going to be nasty.
The other role the Prime has and the more popular role is to fill a HQ slot. With the Prime being an I.C it can easily hide away inside other units. A popular setup is to join the Prime to a Carnifex. Personally I’d take the ‘Fex with two pairs of twin-linked devourers, frag spines and adrenal glands. This will allow the ‘Fex to be I4 when charging (thanks to living battering ram rule) so it will be striking the same time as Marines and still will be I4 when assaulting through cover thanks to the frags. Add the Prime’s whip which will make any enemy models strike at I1 (note the Prime will be I1 if assaulting into cover as it does not have frags) if any are still living after the ‘Fex’s ranged and assault attacks.
I have a lot of love for the Hive Tyrant as it’s a cool model, but the Prime is a very cool customer.
The Prime is a watered down Tyrant and has a single role; close combat. If you’re not running many monstrous creatures or don’t want the big blighters absorbing all your points then a Tyranid Prime is probably the HQ for you. You just need to decide if it’s going to offer its single benefit to a unit of Warriors or just fill the FOC as a cheap HQ choice. So if you’re stuck on points then grab a Tyranid Prime.
The Hive Tyrant can be a nasty piece of work and give some really nice supporting benefits for the unit. The question you have to ask yourself is will I use those benefits. If not then the Tyrant is probably not worth it. It also should be noted if you was running the Tyrant as a gun beast might be worth using a Carnifex instead, same ballistic skill, armour save and wounds 😉
For me it’s the Hive Tyrant as I think it’s a cool model and I really love the combo of paroxysm supporting a unit of Termagants or Genestealers while one of those units receives feel no pain from a Tervigon’s catalyst power.
How are you leading your splinterfleets my fellow Norn-Queens?