40K: Our 5 Favorite Tyranid Stratagems

The Tyranids are back and we’re going over our 5 favorite stratagems from their new codex!

There are 28 stratagems to choose from in the new Tyranid Codex. It’s one of the big reasons that I think Codex Armies have an advantage over Index Armies – for now. Sure, Indexes will be replaced but in the mean time…but that’s another topic. Today, I’d like to take a look at a handful of stratagems that I think are REALLY good and players should keep these in mind when you’re playing with (or against) Tyranids. Here they are in no particular Order.

(Note: GW already showed off Three of our OTHER favorites: Feeder Tendrils, The Deepest Shadow, and Pathogenic Slime. We’re picking 5 OTHER ones to show off.)

Digestive Denial

If you’re going to play with a Shooty-Nid list, I cannot stress this one enough. You have GOT to remember to spend 2 CPs at the start of the game to remove the cover save bonus from a piece of terrain. Trust me, I forgot about this and if I remembered it at the start, I wouldn’t have been fighting such a brutal uphill battle for one of my games.

Power of the Hive Mind

Let me just say this: Always. Be. Smiting. Your Psychic Powers are pretty okay – but throw out the Smites while you can. It might not seem like much (an extra Smite at the end of the phase) but that’s D3 Mortal Wounds and if you can tag those on say some heavy armor…well, it’s worth it.

Single-Minded Annihilation

Select a Tyranids Infantry Unit and that unit can immediately shoot again. There are lots of things that could benefit from getting some extra shots, Hive Guard for one. A big batch of Warriors could benefit from another round of shooting. But my personal favorite? Devourer Guants. Pod in 20 from orbit and light something up! Or if you’re feeling like spending some CP combo it with our next pick…

Scorch Bugs

“It’s only Fleshborer Shots” you’ll say as you unleash a volley from a pack of Termagants/Gargoyles. Except those fleshborers are getting a +1 to wound. On Toughness 4, you’re wounding on 3s now. On 5-7, you’re wounding on 4s. On toughness +8, you’re wounding on 5s. That’s PRETTY mean. And Fleshborer Hives are looking like a pretty good option on Tyrannofexes now.

Voracious Appetite

What, you didn’t think I was going to leave out my Close Combat Stratagems, did you? Screamer-Killers with a Re-Roll to wound are down right terrifying. So are Hive Tyrants…that goes quadruple for the Swarmlord. But there are LOTS of Monsters that could have a really good time with this one. Haruspexes, for example, basically double dip as they get bonus attacks when they kill a model.

There are a LOT more to choose from in the book. I can’t wait to test them all out as well…I just have to remember to use them! Maybe I should pick-up a Tyranid Data Card Deck. Or make flash cards. I’ll memorize the eventually…right? Who am I kidding…better pre-order those suckers while it’s on my mind.


That’s our list for our 5 Favorite Stratagems (because I wanted to show of ones GW didn’t). Bah! I want a recount – Pathogenic Slime, I LOVE YOU!!!!

  • Rob brown

    I know there has been a lot of criticism of th psychic barrage stratagem. But it is one way the army can snipe characters. I’ve had endless trouble with large numbers of Imperial Guard units, layered with multiple command units, psykers etc and while the commissar is no longer as essential this power means you could eviscorate a large part of the opponents firebase and command structure each on a 4+. Sure you’ve got to get close but this can be done after and advance so is a very reasonable turn 2 option, with no risk of perils or deny the witch. Just a thought. The power effectively gives you a 3d3 smite on anything under a 6” diameter template. That’s a big area considering you only need to graze a unit to effect it.

    • Der T

      The problem with that stratagem is that the Guard player will have shot one of your Zoanthrope units down to less than the required 3 models in his first turn, which completely denies its use.

      That being said I find it quite cool still and hope to see it in use someday 🙂

      • Rob brown

        I did think that, however with 3++ and potential to hit modfiiers from Venomthropes I think they could take some damage at range. I’d probably take units of 5 for 600 points for a lot of smite, synapse, shadow of the warp etc. However even if the guard player focussed all their efforts on the zoanthropes, that means the rest of the army isnt being shot!

        • ReveredChaplainDrake

          Just saying, the whole “shooting my left arm means you can’t shoot my right arm” only really works if you’re right-handed, as it were. If you want to play that game, you need to be using nothing but units that, if ignored, could cause massive consequences, thus making all target priority choices into bad choices. Zoanthropes don’t work for this at all, especially against IG, because the worst that happens is they Smite the Great Wall of Conscripts and kill a few. Doesn’t exactly demand attention.

          I’d recommend Hormagaunts, considering their affinity for tying things up quickly, but you *did* mention IG, who can essentially fall back without consequence. So, uh… hmm… Jormungandr?

    • ReveredChaplainDrake

      There are waaaaay better ways of handling IG characters, even with what we’ve got now. Deathleaper comes to mind. Sure, he might have trouble breaking down anything more heavily armored than the average taco, but an Officer is far, far chewier. Even most of the special ones wilt and die if you so much as burp vaguely in their direction.

      If you *must* tackle tons of IG characters, just take some basic Genestealer Cult detachment to unlock some IG Ratlings or something. You’ll waste fewer points and still be more versatile than nine Zoanthropes.

      EDIT: Oh, and BTW, the Psychic Barrage only hits characters on a 5+, not a 4+.

  • ReveredChaplainDrake

    In my mind, Single-Minded Annihilation is the best one for self-explanatory reasons.

    Next, I’d pick the one that lets you fight or shoot with a monster right before it dies. Most good Tyranids die young, and it puts your opponent in the no-win situation of “kill a monster and get butchered” or “don’t kill a monster and get butchered more”. Old One Eye seems like a good candidate, as it lack degradation, as does Swarmlord, whose degradation only causes him to hit like a slightly smaller train.

    After that, Deepest Shadow, and that only ranks as low as it does because it’s locked down to a hive fleet I don’t really care for, but it is REALLY good. So good you could reasonably get away with taking Kronos just for that stratagem, assuming you know you’re fighting psykers who care about powers that aren’t Smite.

    Other good ones:

    Overrun wins my “Most Underrated Stratagem” award because of just how handy it can be to get such a potentially huge chunk of movement after a victorious combat. Could win you a game if you use it to set up an attempt to chase down an objective runner. Or you could use it to haul back into synapse / spore cloud range. Get Old One Eye or the Broodlord behind some chaff. Hide a kill point from otherwise inevitable retribution by scurrying it behind a LOS-blocking wall. And so on. Get creative.

    Pheremone Trail is pretty handy without requiring a big investment in points. Probably the hardest difficulty you’ll come up against is how the heck you’re supposed to get a Lictor model. I know I want one. Jormungandr and all.

    Implant Attacks could basically be renamed “Whiffing Insurance”, and should be used as such. I prefer it to Voracious Appetite (winner of my “Most Overrated Stratagem” award) because you can use IA exactly at the point where it would come in handy the most, plus it has the fewest responses when it does land, whereas Voracious Appetite requires you to commit the CP without knowing if you’ll need it or not, and then not knowing whether your opponent will roll hot saves and waste your CP. Maybe if you combo up with Death Frenzy, you can take it even further. Basically, fight, re-roll, die, fight again, re-roll again. *Then* Implant Attacks, just to make sure.

    It seems like the best part of all these stratagems (and I suppose stratagems in general) is the fact that they exist at all. I wouldn’t play into any of them on purpose, nor write an army around exploiting them. Just let situations where they might come in handy occur naturally and use your CP where it counts.

  • Domenico Malavisi

    The article makes “Power of the hive mind” sound like this is a loophole that means one psyker can smite twice. Just to clarify- page 178 of rule book; “A psyker cannot attempt to manifest the same psychic power more then once in a turn.”