40K: Tyranid Codex Expectations vs Reality

With a new Codex on the way AdamHarry is both excited and nervous for his beloved Tyranids.

Hey BoLS Readers, it’s AdamHarry and I’m here to chat with you all about my hopes and expectations for the Tyranid Codex – and how to prepare for the crushing reality it it doesn’t live up to those.

Expecting the Expected

Looking at the current crop of Codexes, it’s hard not to get at least a little excited about the prospect of a new Tyranid Codex. Right now, it’s getting to the point where if you don’t have a Codex, you’re playing with a handicap vs those who do. Think about it – they have a bucket of stratagems, more warlord traits, more psychic powers (or equivalent abilities), sub-factions to choose, more relics to use… it’s just an awkward spot right now. So, yes, I want a Codex to bring the Tyranids back up to the same footing as those who have a book.

I’m expecting to get all of those things in the new Codex. That has been the blueprint since the Space Marines waltzed in and started shooting everyone with hot-plasma. The Index also gives us a glimpse as to what GW has planned. Lots of Aura Abilities, built-in synergies just for taking complementary units, and some mean options for units that might have been “underused” in previous editions.

Those are just some of my expectations for the book – I’m sure you have your own, too. But I’m trying to keep my expectations grounded in facts and trends. That’s because expectations, when not met, can really cause problems for people in general. For a real-world example, when I turn on the water faucet, I expect water to come out. If it doesn’t I’m going to be a little bit more than just disappointed. I’m going to get mad. It’s healthy to recognize and separate your expectations from your hopes. All the things in the above graphic are things I would expect – and other bits in the codex are things I’m just hoping for.

Hope: The First Step On The Road To Disappointment

Things I’m hoping for in the new Tyranid Codex include things like a way to deal with armor better than just “punch it with your claws.” I’m hoping for more cool new models to build. I’m hoping that the points get another pass and that wargear/options get better. I’m hoping that Raveners get a freaking 4+ save! I’m really hoping that Tyrant Guard get the same special rule as Deathshroud so my walking Tyrant gets more play time…

I’ve got a wish-list of things I’m hoping my Tyranids get in the new codex and I’m sure other Tyrand Players out there do too. At the same time, I’ve got to recognize that those are just things I’m hopeful for and not things I should honestly be expecting. These are pipe-dreams. If they happen then it’s great! If they don’t, well, that stinks but at least I was being realistic about it.

I hope this load out is better…but I’m not betting the farm on it.

Even though your hopes and dreams for a new codex might be “the best thing ever” and “make total sense” that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to happen. GW can’t read your mind and just because you think it’s a great idea doesn’t mean it’s going to make it in the next book. Recognize your hopes vs expectations and try to keep those two piles separated.

Reality Check

If your honest with yourself, you’ve probably gotten your hopes and expectations mixed up at some point in your life. Maybe it was the expectation that a Christmas Present would be there and it wasn’t. Maybe it was the expectation that Pyrovores are going to completely suck in 8th and they don’t. The point is it’s easy to get those hopes mixed up with expectations and to feel entitled or owed something from this new codex. The reality is that we’re not entitled to those hopes or expectations. They are both “nice to haves” and mandatory inclusions. Yes, even the expectations you have that are based in facts and trends – they aren’t mandatory!

GW doesn’t have to provide you with the new warlord traits, psychic power, etc…If they don’t I think that’s a huge mistake and I bet Tyranid players would probably revolt. I also think that Games Workshop knows that and it would be a bad call from the business end to not include those things. But the reality is those are still things we’re all expecting. If they don’t show up, much like the water from the faucet example above, I think folks are going to be mad. Will they be justified? As much as a person can be upset about a game involving plastic dudesmen has any right to be.

Now, if my wish-list doesn’t get checked off I don’t think I’m going to lose any sleep over it. I’ll be disappointed, sure, but I’ve also recognized that those things 1) aren’t likely to happen and 2) aren’t in my control anyways. I used to have a manager tell me “don’t let things you can’t control control you.” What he meant was don’t let things you can’t do anything about get you worked up and angry. That was some really good advice and it’s helped me out on some rough days.

My advice for folks who are feeling excited and anxious about their new Codex (Tyranid or Eldar players out there) is to go through your own expectations list and figure out which bucket they fall into: Expectation or Hope/Wish-list. I think if you actually do that, you’ll find yourself less worried about something that you have zero control over. Plus, when your respective Codex does come out, you hopefully won’t flip out if it’s terrible…Or you’ll be able to enjoy the awesomeness of having a new codex!


What are some of your Expectations for the Tyranid/Eldar Codexes? What are somethings you have in your wish-list of the codex?

  • Spacefrisian

    Expect nothing new and prepare another €32,50 for Genestealer cult in order to play the full army.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Play the whole army? They’re two very different kettles of fish and, rightly so, deserve two separate codex’s. It akin to saying that all the forces for the Imperium should be in one tome, in order to “play the full army”.

      • memitchell

        Genestealer Cult Codex is about 7 unique units (including characters), and the rest are AM vehicles. The basic troops are single pose with no weapons swaps, without conversions. So, not flexible like DG Marines. That’s not a complaint, the models are great. But, it means they don’t have the flexibility and the variety as the same number of DG unit types. GSC as constituted now is not a full army. I’d as soon it be included in the Tyranid codex, than need to buy the GSC, AM, and Tyranid codices to play GSC.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          I would imagine (and can’t see why they would not) when the Cult codex gets done, , simply get put in all the ‘Guard’ related datasheets, they can use. There will not be a need to purchase the AM Codex separately. Won’t surprise me either that they may well be an army that get a look in, sooner rather than later, on new models.

        • Jason Anderson

          They released MPP Neophytes and Hybrids with multiple weapons options. Auto gun shotgun Flanders grenade launchers webbers heavy stunners I think too?

          And you can take heavy weapons like guard to boot if I remember correctly

      • Spacefrisian

        Well all marines could be put in 1 dex for starters, they ar 95% the same anyways. And Chaos had all in 1 dex before and was more diverse.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          Again, all the Chapters/Legions that have separate codex’s have very distinct play styles. Sure they do have many units that crossover but they also have (now) many unique units and have reams of background that makes the army what it is.

          Just look at how GW has made the Death Guard and Thousand Sons completely difference in play styles and feel in 8th. In addition if GW where to combine all the chapters into one codex it would become huge tome, likely larger in length that the core rule book, and very expensive for customers to purchase.

          It is really not as simple as saying “well 95% is the same, so let chuck them all together”.

  • Apocryphus

    I don’t expect much to be different. A few points tweaks here and there maybe, but that’s all. What I hope for is Crushing Claws to not be worthless on Carnifexes and for Mawlocs to do more damage when they arrive.

  • marsultor

    Personally I love the gargoyle models, but I can’t believe that they don’t get any sort of “deep strike” ability. I mean they’re supposed to blot out the sun or something, right? And how about better guns for them? Something with rapid fire? Such cool models and such a waste, seems to me. Not that it will stop me from playing them.

    Amen the ‘Fex claws, Apocryphus. And it’s nice that hormogaunts get that 6″ move, but honestly I’d rather they got some speed like genestealers did. I think that they can outrun hormaguants, and that seems wrong.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Likely it will some kind of stratagem that allows you to do that.

  • Hubert Wawryk

    Maybe some gargunt creature, tyranids are lacking models equivalent to for example imperial knight. I think that they need something thats above 20 wounds and it would be nice to see zoanthropes fixed,beacuse they are quite useles right now.I would also like to see shrikes modles. In my opinion nids also need biovores box because 25 pounds is far way to much for one model and few spores.

    • LeroyJenkinss

      Yes! Tyranid knight! That would be 8=========)~~~~~~

    • Bootneck

      Model wise a plastic LOW is all they need tbh, whether its some kind of bio tank or mini titan it doesn’t matter.

      But I doubt that will happen, it will be a clone of the GK release – no knew models. Warlord traits, stratagems, hive fleet “chapter tactics”, artifacts and 3 new psychic powers.

      A few points up’s/down’s here and there, that the lot I reckon.

      • Volcifar

        Pray that it isn’t a rehash of the GK Codex. One “new”
        Unit, two rehashed units that are superfluous, no needed point adjustments,(looking at you purifiers,terminators, and heavy weapons) and at least one nerf.

    • dark-tadpole

      I’ve always had lots of success with my zoanthropes, running them in a unit of 6 casting Smite twice and getting 2 d3 mortal wounds or if you roll a 10 to cast getting d6 plus d3. And there quite hard to kill with a 3++ and the neurophrope getting you wounds back.

      • Vaettra

        Then I’m said to say you’ve been cheating. A psyker cannot attempt to manifest the same psychic power more than once in a turn. Smite is not exception.
        Getting wounds back is cute but pretty useless as you cannot get dead models back unless the rule specifically allows you to. Which it doesn’t. Zoanthropes are so crappy currently.

        • ReveredChaplainDrake

          Zoanthrope Smites do an extra D3 mortal wounds if you have 4 or more models.

          That said, that’s still really bad for a Smite platform.

        • dark-tadpole

          Oh crap, your right I misread the matched play psychic focus rule. That does change things. I they changed it so you could cast it twice then they are pretty good. With the wounds thing where does it say you can’ bring models back? I was going by then getting d3 wounds back and the fact that they have 3 wounds so if you rolled a 3 unless you could bring them back it’s a pointless roll a you could only ever recover 2 wounds.

  • Kitane

    It says a lot when I look at discussions about the upcoming codex and all I read between the lines is people steeling themselves for another disaster (a third one in a row? Or even a fourth one?).

    • Munn

      The Admech CSM and SM codexes were all pretty good outside of girlydude and stormravens and they at least hit stormravens already.

    • Vaettra

      It merely shows how abused Tyranid players have been for years. Since Cruddace showed up, we’ve been used to be disappointed.

  • Randy Randalman

    A big thing to remember is that this book may have been sent to printer 10 months ago when problems and points disparities hadn’t been discovered by the larger play community and tournaments yet. So things we may think need “fixed” from index to now perhaps weren’t addressed. That said, Chapter Approved will be a love document and comes to us in December.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      With 8th only being released in June and the AM codex out in October, how exactly do you think GW could put in all the small point changes, rule tweaks and changes garnered from mass player feedback?

      The Codex may well have been “finished” 10 months ago, if not more. However, it won’t have gone to print until a couple of months back. Until then GW can send through updated copy for print.

      Also GW simply don’t want loads of new release stock hanging round in the warehouse waiting to be sold. Like a lot of retail business (especially supermarkets), GW plan their supply chain on a “Just-in-Time” production model; so stuff hangs around for the smallest amount of time possible. Heck, the Warehouse likely didn’t receive stock until 2 weeks before release. For overseas market copies they either print locally or pay for the expense for stock to be air-freighted.

  • BrianDavion

    we have the base index rules for ‘nids already and they’re pretty powerful, I don’t expect many big changes but I expect we’ll see some statagems and “hive tactics” that really change things up

  • Superstringy

    Genestealer deployment options please!

  • I don’t see them getting new models. Perhaps some updated to plastic stuff for craftworld eldar, but I see them doing the same as guard for these two codexes. Nice rules for everything that is already out. Perhaps one conversion potential character/leader for the tyranids of something big like old one eye or the red terror. I see them running into christmas with the two remaining codex books being chapter approved (as one of the codex books) to push the vehicle design rules for the land raiders in the lead up to christmas purchases and a codex that either is a quick release like dark angels / blood angels to push more marine stuff into the christmas break, or drop a big codex in the christmas break which has lots of new stuff. It has to fight with Necromunda in that period so it would have to be something nice. We all would love to see our favourite army get a book, but next year is said to be the year of xenos, so the run to the end of the year will most likely be an imperial book. So most likely we will see one of the space marine books drop. It would be nice to be surprised with something unexpected like sisters, but honestly I would probably see orks dropping with some new vehicle kits (of massively overdue updates to existing models) before the sisters see the light of day.

  • Jeremy Larson

    As long as they bump up the points on the Exocrine… and I say that AS a Tyranid player.

    • Kitane

      Not after they gave Leman Russes the ability to fire twice…

    • Vaettra

      Dude, you need to get out more. Have you played against Tau commander spam? Bobby G lascannon fests? Any conscious Astra Militia player? Tyranids need to get more viable options for a competitive army, not less.

  • Bootneck

    One thing I think they’ve always missed a trick on is giving Tyranid Primes the option to have wings.

    This would make Shrikes much more viable.

  • Austin Kennedy
  • Austin Kennedy

    All I want is for Shadow in the Warp to make enemy Psykers useless like in the lore.

    • Vaettra

      Probably not happening. The opposite is true though, meet cheap Mr Soup Culexus, he shuts Tyranid psychic phase down with a smile.

  • Philip Estabrook

    What do the guard need that Deathshroud have? I thought their bodyguard rules were pretty much the same.

  • ReveredChaplainDrake

    The more and more I think about Tyranids, the more I think that Tyranids are just outpaced by the rest of the game. And this time, unlike under the dark days of Cruddace, it’s not the Nids’ fault. Now that Tyranids aren’t hideously overpriced and / or conceptual failures (Zoanthropes notwithstanding), they’re about reasonably where any army should be in terms of both power level and versatility.

    The problem is *everybody else*. Since Tyranids’ inception as the ever-evolving perfect predator it was written as, the game now features, just off the top of my head:
    -no meaningful force organization limits
    -mortal wounds
    -basic infantry with Rending guns
    -basic infantry with 2-4 shots per model
    -basic infantry with 5 attacks per model
    -basic infantry that come back to life after they die
    -units that can make multiple rounds of melee attacks per turn
    -shooting units that can fall back and shoot without penalty
    -3 pt models in 30-strong units that never lose more than 1 model to morale
    -3 pt models with 4+ invulnerable saves
    -tanks that can shoot twice
    -basic tanks with 8 wounds and 3+ saves
    -long-ranged weapons that cause D6 (and worse!) wounds per failed save
    -Lords of War

    The game has just outpaced what any reasonably adaptable army can actually adapt to because the upper ceiling of what Tyranids can “evolve” (read: tailor) to combat is broad, but low.

    The Tyranids are a race full of units with problems of deprecated combat roles. Take Lictors. Sure, Lictors may not be bad if you look at them on a spreadsheet and weigh what they’re worth to what they cost. Unfortunately, the Lictor has to operate in the scale of the larger game. And in that larger scale of 40k, what the heck is one lightly-armored shock assault dweeb supposed to do to help me win? It can’t. Not the Lictor’s fault. Shock assault just isn’t a thing in 40k anymore. You *could* use a Lictor, maybe even effectively, in the same way you *could* get into your car by smashing the windshield in with a rock. For the same reason we have keys to get into our cars with less effort, we also have Lascannons to get into *the other guy’s* car with less effort.

    But no, the Tyranids are stuck with a bunch of units that don’t work not because of pricing or being crap, but because they *used* to fulfill roles and are grandfathered into the faction despite the fact that the role itself is an anachronism. I worry that the only way to make Tyranids competitive again is to make them blisteringly stupid OP. That, or go through the entire army and re-evaluate what units serve what purpose, then tweaking them to serve that purpose with the knowledge of their opposition’s capabilities… but hey, path of least resistance.