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April 1, 2013

40K : Tyranids in Retrospect in 6th Edition

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Hey guys, Learn2Eel here from ImperatorGuides, and I’m back to wrap up our detailed 2nd look at the Tyranids.

Hey all, I'm back to give you some fresh insights into the terrifying Tyranids, an army that has under-went some major changes in the new edition of Warhammer 40K. So, let's jump right in with my final thoughts on the Great Devourer! 

Closing Thoughts and Summation

Codex: Tyranids is a much maligned book, notably for how much the army struggled to deal with mechanized forces in 5th Edition, as well as the general over-costing of many units and terribly confused rules of others. Thankfully, 6th Edition breathed new life into the Swarm in countless ways - with foot-slogging armies becoming more common-place, the changes to Barrage weapons, the loss of No Retreat! wounds, more easily hit vehicles in combat, an influx of cover saves and better Feel No Pain for monstrous creatures, hull points on vehicles, flying monstrous creatures and so much more. Hive Tyrants with wings are now premier transport and light flier hunters, and benefit greatly from the new psychic powers - particularly Iron Arm, Warp Speed and Endurance from Biomancy. Biovores are highly effective 'sniper' units, effectively neutralizing units relying on special or heavy weapons to deal with monstrous creatures. Zoanthropes are amongst the most versatile units in the codex, with access to so many new random psychic powers that each brood member can select individually - support and damage go hand in hand with the brain bugs! And with the new editions' focus on objectives, Tervigons paired with Termagants are now some of the best Troops choices you can find in any army when they work in unison - creating fast moving hordes that can all score objectives, backed by a relentlessly durable monster that can capture objectives as well! Hormagaunts, with Fearless no longer causing extra wounds in a lost combat, truly are amongst the most cost-effective melee horde units in the game, using their speed and numbers to overwhelm any foe. Harpies, now that they too can fly, are enjoying a new lease on life - even if they still aren't the best choice, they are no longer so easily killed. It all paints a bright picture for Tyranids.

Of course, there are the downsides too - with the changes to Fleet and assaulting out of reserves, Genestealers, Hormagaunts, Trygons and the like have suffered either minor or severe penalties - with Genestealers in particular now unable to pull off their only reliable means of getting into combat without suffering too many casualties. Tyrannofexes armed with Rupture Cannons are much less likely to wreck vehicles now, with the changes to the damage chart. Overwatch puts a serious dent in many of our assault units, and the introduction of random charge distances can be a major crippling factor for our already fragile melee units. Like with any player, it is necessary to take the bad with the good - as the mantra of our species, Hive Commanders need to adapt to these new circumstances, the conditions of war. As it is, our unique units are, perhaps surprisingly, enjoying a new lease on life - Deathleaper and Ymgarl Genestealers are now amongst the elite disruption units in the game, whilst the Doom of Malan'tai is even stronger than ever; if that was even possible! The Parasite of Mortrex has gained much due to the character and challenge rules - it can now Look Out Sir! wounds that would normally kill it instantly, and singling out a hidden power fist works in the Parasite's favour now. In particular, the Swarmlord has now earned the title of most deadly character-killer in the game - few can hope to even match the Swarmlord in a challenge, and when equipped with the new psychic disciplines, such as Biomancy or Telepathy, there is little hope of stopping it. Warriors too are clawing their way back into competitive armies, with the gradual meta shift towards plasma becoming more and more evident - instant death may no longer be as crippling an issue for so many of our multi-wound T4 models as it was before. Overall, I think the 6th Edition changes have given Tyranids a very welcome boost - many more units are now being seen in competitive armies, even if there have been some notable sacrifices, such as Genestealers. Of course though, the Broodlord has something to say about that - few codices can claim to have a character assassin of the quality and cost of a Broodlord.

But what about the codex internally? How has the meta shift affected the themes underlining the units? Not much has truly changed there - synergy is still the most important facet of the Tyranid army, with more and more tantalising combinations discovered every day. Tervigons and Termagants are enjoying a renaissance of sorts, with objective games now the norm. Conversely, Gargoyles paired with Harpies or Flying Hive Tyrants are even more dangerous than ever. Combined assaults consisting of Hormagaunts and Trygons will still devastate any foe when used smartly, whilst Hive Guard and Zoanthropes are even more deadly at dispatching vehicles and heavy infantry alike in unison - though Deny the Witch is now a cause for concern with Zoanthropes. All units should still be considered firstly for their role in the army, not their cost-effectiveness or immediate profile - hence why a Mawloc or Deathleaper may become so much more useful when paired with the Doom of Malan'tai, Genestealers and their ilk, rather than a Trygon or the Swarmlord. Fast moving armies need multiple threats of similar speeds to execute combined assaults and provide too many targets for opponents to adequately deal with. The Doom of Malan'tai, though a fantastic suicide unit, will need some support, especially if the drop doesn't go well. And yes, Nidzilla is indeed back - with cover saves far easier to come by, the new monster benefits, and the edition shift away from missile launchers and the like, Warriors and the rest should work better than ever.

The theme still holds true to this day though, no matter what unit you select - synergy above all else, it is why each unit must have a specific goal, and each unit must work together to achieve those goals. Sacrificial units are common in a Tyranid army, and every skirmish must be approached delicately with a considered, calm mind. Despite the many improvements Tyranids have gained overall, they are still a challenging army to master and not for beginners - they require not only an acute tactical mind, but also a strong army list made by an eye that can see beyond the efficiency of one unit, but look at how it correlates with other choices in the army. Trygons truly are the most cost-effective monstrous creature in the Heavy Support section, but will they work in every kind of army list? This is a question you must ask yourself when considering what units to select, and knowing how to use them is imperative. A Hive Tyrant with wings is deadly and fast, but should you be overly aggressive with it or let it skirt the flanks of your opponent? As with the race itself, a good Tyranid player will have to adapt to every situation on the fly - having a preset strategy in mind rarely works in today's game, particularly an army with as many in-built deficiencies and applications as Tyranids. Still, if you are willing to dedicate the ample time and money required to effectively do Tyranids justice, you will find they are a highly rewarding army that punishes mistakes and poor list-building whilst praising tactical nous and the notion of units working in perfect unison. No other codex quite approaches Tyranids in terms of a unified army, all forces synchronized to destruction and death. Few things are as frightening - and unexpected, given their poor reputation - as a Swarm guided by a strong commander, consuming all before them with hordes ripping into infantry, monstrous creatures obliterating enemy positions and Hive Guard or Zoanthropes devastating vehicles from afar. Whether through the psychic choir, the monstrous horde, the unending tide, or an effective mixture - the choice is yours. 

Create. Evolve. Consume.

You can read even more Tyranid thoughts in the Lounge here.  Have at it folks - what are final thoughts on the Tyranid book in the middle of the recent codex extravaganza from GW?
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