40K: Tyranids Take a Turn

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The Tyranid codex will be coming out in the next few months. Let’s talk bugs.

Let’s talk Tyranids. We know their codex is releasing sooner, rather than later, which is a shame as it means we probably won’t see a ton of new stuff for them. Deathguard, Primaris, and spinoff games are the big releases of the year. But let’s take a moment and consider the ‘nid.

The Tyranids are an interesting faction. Big space bugs who eat everything on a world to make more of themselves–they are an all consuming threat that represents the idea of oblivion. In a fantasy novel, Tyranids would be the threat that the antagonist and protagonist both have to deal with. Where the villain might want to rule the world, kill a king, or some other temporal thing, they are the darkness that would threaten to destroy it all.

More a force of nature than an actual character, Tyranids are alien. They hail from outside the galaxy and are apart from its petty concerns. They are the ultimate end of the 40K galaxy–massive extra galactic threats that we’ve only seen a vanguard of, whose aim is wiping out all life in the galaxy.

Oops, sorry,  hang on. Whose only aim is wiping out all life in the galaxy.

Let’s try that one more time: whose only aim is wiping out all life in the galaxy.

There we go. But all that was to illustrate–it’s an enduring archetype. The Tyranids join a storied tradition of the unknown as annihilation. And to fight them is to strive for existence, just like in that one speech from the end of Independence Day.

Beyond just their representation of death/annihilation, they are all about adaptation. One of their great strengths is to take on the traits of the people that fight them. So far, the only way to stop them is Exterminatus, but even this is costly. But that’s just one perspective on these big bugs from space.

What draws you to the Tyranids? How do you see them fit into the larger story?

  • Moke

    I’ve been having great fun with Nids since launch. The monstrous bio-cannons are a bit meh and the Exocrine is a little too good for my liking – it’s an auto include in every army as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather it was made a little more expensive and some of the other options (like the Tyranofex) were made cheaper and/or better.

    • Karru

      The thing about the Exocrine is that it is the perfect “shooter” in 8th edition. It has a nice amount of shots, if it stood still, good strength, very good AP and even does 2 Damage per shot. It is also quite accurate to boot, which makes it very useful.

      Personally, I would like to see him go up in price, but also make other ‘Nid monsters more useful. I tend to find that all CC focused Monsters are useless and not worth their price. It is more thanks to the way the game works and not the actual monsters themselves though. Since now Assault units have way less attacks than before, something like a monster charging a unit will not wipe it in most cases. They will most likely lose a handful of models and then retreat during their turn, leaving the monster hanging in the wind.

      Since there is no longer any real negative side effects of falling back from combat and combat is only effective through actually killing the unit and not also breaking it, you want to focus mostly on shooting in basically all cases when it comes to units/models that have options between shooting and attacking.

      Tyranids are great fun this edition. They feel more like Tyranids now than they have done in the past 3 editions now.

      • Moke

        I’ve been having fun with the Swarmlord at around 75 power level. He starts with 8 attacks which is usually enough to much a lot of things.

        I agree that falling back is a little too good at the moment, especially given how difficult it is to get into combat with shooty armies as it is.

        I have been having fun with the old Distraction Carnifex tactic. Similarly, the Distraction Mawloc.

        • Karru

          Things like Swarmlords and other high damage monsters with decent amount of attacks are very useful against Vehicles and other Monsters, but do nothing against Infantry really.

      • bobrunnicles

        The only downside to the Exocrine (unless they FAQ’d it) is it doesn’t fire indirectly. I mean the thing is basically an enormous Biovore, and they shoot indirectly. It should be able to lob shots like a mortar.

        • Karru

          That would make it extremely broken. The Exocrine is already very powerful, but having the ability to stick him behind LoS blocking terrain and shooting everyone within 36″ would make it an absolute must take to every Tyranid army. It would also make Hive Guard obsolete.

          • bobrunnicles

            Fair enough; it just looks like it should lol. I had 6-7000 points of Nids under 7th but I haven’t played them yet in 8th. Didn’t have an Exocrine though, sounds like perhaps I should pick one up if I decide I want to get them on the table?

          • Karru

            I would advice to try one out. They are really good fire support unit, they do amazing damage against multi-wound Infantry squads, things like Terminators for example. Exocrine is a good addition to any Tyranid Army.

          • bobrunnicles

            Got one in my basket ready to go lol 🙂

        • David Clift

          what you want is a Dactylis.

  • af

    “Whose only aim is wiping out all life in the galaxy.”

    I thought that was the aim of the Necrons. The Tyranids want to assimilate all other life forms into their biomass, not wipe it all out.

    • Wolf-Assassin

      I wouldn’t call it Assimilate. i would compare them more to locust swarms that eat everything in its path.

      • Carey_Mahoney

        Finally someone here who gets it!

      • lunahula .

        Yeah they are portrayed here as a kind of entropy. Which of course to the denizens of this galaxy they absolutely are.

        But from what we know of them, they are much more aking to the locust or even a spreading disease. They move into a healthy galaxy free of them and expand, adding all life in their path to their biomass in order to expand outward to other new galaxies. When they encounter a problem that harms them they adapt, mutate and attempt to overcome it.

        At the ground level they are cunning all the way up to strategic acumen. As a wider entity however they do not betray much hint of some greater purpose beyond simply swallowing all in their path.

        In many ways they are the very darkest of enemies.

        • af

          My point is that with the Tyranid victors, the galaxy is not devoid of life. Hence, their objective is not to rid the galaxy of life, but merely to consume it for the benefit of their own form of life. Consumption or assimilation into their biomass.

          Unlike Necrons, if I understand their fluff correctly.

          • Rob brown

            When they’ve finished though they leave bare rock devoid of all life and nutrients. Only to move onto the next system. They don’t colonise they consume. Hence the name “the Great Devourer” I definitely dig the locust theme. If locusts dug the roots up and the soil, and all the water.

          • af

            Fine, I’ll adapt my theoretical model then: Tyranids may leave a local area in the universe (a planet or galaxy) barren, but as long as Tyranids themselves are a life form, they are still not out to “wipe all life” — just like locusts aren’t! Their goal isn’t
            “Death/Anihiliation”, but consumption. Maybe their way of life is not self-sustaining in the long term (what happens when they run out of systems to consume? Do they die out?), but it’s definitely not anti-life.

            Just as when locusts eat everything in their path, that’s Lady Life doing her thing, so is the case with Tyranids. Perhaps a bit out of control!

          • NagaBaboon

            Yeah I suppose but it’s not the same because Locusts are still a part of the biosphere, Tyranids leave the galxy and move on, in this galaxy at least, life would be no more

          • NagaBaboon

            It would be devoid of life, once they’ve eaten everything in their path they move onto the next galaxy leaving this one totally barren.

            Necrons might be mean and may want to exterminate life but they don’t have the numbers, at least not yet anyway

      • af

        Agreed. Assimilation is more specifically a trope of the Genestealer Cults (where this Red Scare inspired trope is in full swing… do YOU know what cult your children might be considering joining NOW?), which in turn can be considered Tyranid precursors. The Tyranid themselves are more like locusts, like you said.

        Still not “wipe all life” 🙂

  • Bran D

    Ripper Swarms are great now, suuuuper cheap and I’ve gotten to roll a d3 for behind enemy lines twice in the 4 games I’ve played with them…situational yes, do they get shot to death next turn yes, but putting a little pressure on the back lines while my Fex brood stomps forward is very fun 🙂

  • Anthony Coffman

    I jumped on the ‘nidwagon right when I started 40k – I hate to quote an insane android, but I admired their purity.

    Orks came close, but were kind of dull looking at the time. Tyranids wanted one thing – to nom all the nommable. Everyone else had that waffling, are they good or evil, but these guys are just nature beyond what we’d seen so far. Just nommy, nommy nature.

  • Simon Chatterley

    Nids eh? To quote an old favourite:

    “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure”

    • memitchell

      “Hold on, hold on just a second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.”

      • bobrunnicles

        “He can’t make that kind of decision, he’s just a grunt! No offense…”

  • TenDM

    I wondering if we’ll see a new Primaris style Tryanid unit. I mean they do love adapting.

    • lorieth

      Change for the change god? No wonder there are so many Chaos GSCs.

  • piglette

    NPC faction.

  • Tanithilis

    My main problem with the tyranid narrative is that it leaves no room for character. They are more or less infinite, at least as far as the galaxy is concerned, which means that any loss is just a set back. When they win, it just means the death of that planet. No strategic holdings or other motivations.

    The only stories about them have to take the perspective of a non-tyranid, which means they are basically always the villain (as the article suggests).

    It also greatly limits the design space for the race. Not in terms of variety of units, but instead the amount of unique CHARACTER (not character units, but literal character of personality) that is enabled.

    Now, if GW really wanted to allow the Tyranids to develop, they would need to ret-con a few things, and allow individual, full consciousnesses in the race.

    Blizzard did it quite well with the Zerg, actually (despite being based on the ‘nids). There are individuals in the Zerg Swarm, vying for control and power. Conversations can happen. Differing opinions. Characters can die, new characters can develop.

    I think that’s what the tyranids need. They are in a narrative black hole right now, and if we are to see any possible attention the way every other army can get, things are going to have to change.

    Just my two cents.