40K: Tyranids – Adapt & Overcome

Tyranid Players get ready to do whatever the heck you want!

Let me just get this out of the way: It’s good. I’m excited about the Tyranid Codex. Having spent the weekend flipping through the book and creating army list after army list I’m super pumped about this Codex.

Tyrands – Do What You Want

The New Tyranids are an army that can do pretty much whatever the heck you want to do in terms of army design. Do you want to run a ton of Big Monsters across the board? You can do that! Do you want to run a massive swarm of little ones to bog down everything? Yep – you can do that! What about a spread of medium sized bugs that fit somewhere in the middle? Absolutely. If you want to get really whacky and mix it altogether you can – and it ALL works how you want it to work! Shooty Tyranids, Close Combat Tyranids, Mid-range, Anti-infanty, Anti-tank, Anti-psyker – you name it and the Tyranids have an answer.

Overwhelmed By Choice

In fact, I had a bit of analysis paralysis going on when I sat down to work on my first list. Seriously – I didn’t know where to start! But it really was a matter of just getting the first couple ideas down on paper before the rest starting flowing. I probably made about 10-15 lists, all of them different and focusing on different things. Not only are old favorite lists back with a vengeance, thanks to the Stratagems and Hive Fleet Adaptations, there are more army lists that stand a real chance at being contenders in 8th. Here are a few simple combos to get you thinking:

Flyrant + 2xDevourers + Rending Claws/Scything Talons + Adrenal Glands: Flying Hive Tyrants can now “Deepstrike” instead of deploying normally. This means you can drop in on your turn, use your Psychic Powers, Fire, and charge. I know a lot of folks have Flyrants with Double/Quad Devourers and my first reaction was to go with a Quad Devourer load-out. But don’t discount Rending Claws or Scything Talons for some CC Punch. Rending claws in particular will rip armor to shreds. Basically, don’t ignore the other two phases these can participate in (Psychic and Close Combat). They are an investment but they are totally worth it in your army. Recommended Fleet: Behemoth for the re-roll charge or Kronos (for the Warlord trait/Deepest Shadow Stratagem).

Dakkafexes –  I don’t REALLY need to go over this one again, do I? Quad Devourers, Enhanced Senses, Spore Cysts. Unload. Recommended Fleet: Jormungandr for the bonus armor.

Tyrannofexes w/Fleshborer Hive: Yeah, THOSE Fleshborers Hives. It’s 20 str 5 shots, double that if you don’t move. What makes them extra nasty is the Stratagem Scorch Bugs which adds 1 to their to-wound rolls. Then there is also Pathogenic Slime stratagem which increases the damage by 1. So let’s say you’re shooting at Primaris Marines – you’re firing 40 shots that are str 5 but wounding on 2’s and EACH shot is two damage. Or say there is a Tough 8 vehicle around, that’s 40 shots wounding on 4s and each failed wound is 2 damage. Or…well, you pick. Oh and Rupture Cannons are now 3 shots, or 6 if you don’t move. Recommended Fleet: Kronos – hey, you’re not moving anyways! Why not get re-roll 1s.

Venomthropes Squads of 3 or more – Ok, lots of folks were running these already. Now, if you have a squad of 3 you can ALSO impact Monsters. If you have 6, you can extend the range to 9″ – which is a extremely large foot print. These are great for gunlines or if you just want to move-up behind your more aggressive large bugs (Haurspexes, Toxicrenes, etc.) – Recommended Fleet: Take your pick, depends on what else you’re packing.

Genestealers + A Trygon buddy – Genestealers are already rediculously fast. You could run them across the board (especially with a Swarmlord). However, if you’re a gambler run them with a Trygon/Trygon Prime and have them BOTH pop-up at once. If you want to cause problems for your opponent have these two show up in a flank or backfield and force them to turn around and deal with it. I recommend at least 15 stealers. For the bonus attacks. Recommended Fleet: Behemoth – re-roll the charge ftw! For added fun use a Spore Pod with a Broodlord to drop in, too.

Neurothrope Smite Smashing – Neurothropes are the “new” HQ choice and they are cheap and deadly. They can manifest two powers, get to re-roll 1s for Psychic Tests, have 5 wounds and a 3++ save. Plus they are also characters so are even tricker to target. And for added fun they have Shadow in the Warp and Synapse – both things are helpful. If you want to try to defend against Psykers, these guys are a must have.

There are SOOO many other things in the book. Many of these are things from the Index days, but they are just plain BETTER now thanks to Hive Fleet rules and Stratagems. Not to mention Warlord Traits or Relics…

No “Wrong” Choices

If you’re a Tyranid player, you should be excited. They were already fun to play with the Index. And now with the Codex, they really feel like they can do anything. I would encourage you to experiment with your lists. I’m sure that folks out there have already decided what the “ultimate list” will be – but forget that noise. I want to try it all, figure out what I like, and play that! There are lots of things in this book to be excited about and limiting yourself to what some random post on the internet says is not my idea of fun. So get out there and try somethings! You might stumble upon a new favorite build/list/combo and if you like it, that’s all that really matters…this is a game after all!

We’re going to be playing with the Tyranid Codex all week on our Twitch stream – pop over and check it out in action. I’m going to be playing and I’ll be using 3 different lists through out the week to change things up and see how they each play.


I hope you’re as excited as I am to test out the Tyranids this week!

  • Azatoth

    As soon as you take the Crud out of the codex creation…

  • Jose Luis Camarasa

    “No wrong choices”, blatant lie. You are esentially using the same 4 or 5 units you were already using in the last 3 editions. The unused units will continue to being neglected, especifically: tervigon, tiranid prime, foot tyrants, tyranid guard, lictors, raveners, gargoyles (in 8th), warriors, pyrobores, haruspex, maleceptor, zoantropes, toxicrenes, harpy and crone (in8

    • Bootneck

      I think your being a bit negative about it tbh. I can see a lot of potential in many of those units list.

      Hive fleet Kraken raveners are insanely fast, plenty of combo options there.

      Lictors no longer affected by IB, makes them a useful and annoying throwaway unit.

      Pyrovores still useful with 10″ flamespurt can always DS in a tranocyte for flammy goodness.

      Harpy is much improved gunship.

      The list goes on, I think time will show the way.

      • marxlives

        I always saw lictors as something that should be on par with Assassins rules wise. Especially when looking at their lore.

        • Bootneck

          Its nice and fluffy when the stories are about Guardsmen getting hunted ala Predator and fits well.

          But the realty is they were never good enough to take on the super characters of the SM and other factions.


          • marxlives

            So much for highly adaptive super predator.

      • BClement

        I agree with Bootneck – it sounds like there are lots of ways to play the nids and these are just a handful.

    • BClement

      Maybe play another army?

      All the stuff the author mentioned were things that are still good but he said there was more stuff to be excited about. Maybe wait until the book comes out and judge for yourself?

      On second though, nah – just ebay all your stuff now so I can buy it cheap.

  • Karru

    I feel happy for the Tyranid players. After 3 editions worth of total mediocrity and garbage, they finally get something that is enjoyable to all walks of life. I played Tyranids a long time ago, they weren’t not for me only because I didn’t enjoy painting them, but playing was interesting. Then there was 6th and 7th editions that completely trashed them.

    • Gamecock13

      Agreed. I’m glad to see Tyranids get this face lift, it is much needed. I am hoping the same love is shown to my Dark Eldar.

      • Karru

        That’s another faction that deserves better than what it has gotten since their 5th edition codex was replaced.

    • Jabberwokk

      I am very happy. I’m trying to avoid any more spoilers till i get the book but man it’s hard.

      The Tyranid hive forums has been a buzz with joy. Havn’t seen that in a long long time.

  • KundaliniHero

    Tyranids will be a top tier army this edition IMO. Firstly they will be a hard counter to those psychic heavy and “smite spam” lists but even if your opponent isn’t psychic focused they will be annoying as f*ck when you’re trying to buff your army. Secondly the army is wickedly fast – probably the fastest army in the entire wh40k universe atm. From an assault perspective this is strategic gold as you can overwhelm your opponent with multiple threats very quickly with units that can and will wipe elite/character squads. From a strategic perspective I agree with the author, the amount of tactical flexibility is staggering, with extremely useful stratagems that can define your army the way you want to, compared to some of the other 8e codexes Tyranids are a refreshing addition to an army that has long been given the short end of the stick. Sure some units will continue to be under used however just reviewing the first impressions of the codex I can already see a generous amount of possible combinations that absolutely surpass unit load out. My only concern is that with so much flexibility comes the threat of hidden cheese, power gamers have at it.

  • I_am_Alpharius


    I thought Astra Militarum were going to rule the 40K world? Thats what the internet has been telling me for the last 6 weeks?

    • John Henry III

      Are you saying that people were panicing before other codex’s hit the tabletop? What nonsense is this? 😛

    • marxlives

      What people were saying is that horde soups were going to rule the meta for this edition. Nids just doubles down on that. Which is not bad, every game has its own flavour.

    • ReveredChaplainDrake

      Honestly they probably still will, and will continue to do so until the complete farce that is the current force organization system gets a fix. Tyranids just can’t capitalize on strategem spam as much as IG can. That combined with the fact that fleeing basically has no meaningful penalty still put Tyranids at about the high end of the low tier. Or, to put it in a more diplomatic way, “Best Assault Army”.

      Tyranids are certainly to the point where I don’t fear an edition change or shake-up of a core mechanic dramatically doing them in. IG, by contrast, sit high on the power curve, but on a razor’s edge. Just a few critical FAQ changes actually *could* ruin them, as demonstrated by the Com-script nerf.

      • KundaliniHero

        I agree to a point, AM’s use of orders and CP’s etc. make them pretty ridiculous. But its still early, the plethora of options in the codex has potential for some brutal combos. Its the speed with which they can attack and overwhelm that has me most excited.

  • Xodis

    I dont play bugs, whats the general consensus on the teasers? Good, Bad, Playable,etc…?

    • Marco Marantz

      Tyranids are great, an i-win button against pretty much anything. They are up there with IG which is about the only faction that will trouble you espec if they get the first turn. They are, however, brokenly OP so they will be no fun to play against or play with TBH because any honorable player will just feel dirty. If you are WAAC, buy a tyranid army, thats what GW wants.

      • LankTank

        What nonsense is this? The scariest thing I can think of is dakkafex with 2 cp going off to double up damage on them. But that is not gamebreaking. Its barely different to a leman russ punisher

        • Marco Marantz

          the codex does not break smite spam because only tyranids have the ability to do this. its still rampant between other factions. tyranids are the quintessential horde army. i think a tyranid list does itself a disservice by not taking some meat shield which one cant ignore

          • LankTank

            You stated that Tyranids are over powered. I said that they just have means to address the current meta which gives them an advantage against that style list but otherwise how is the Tyranid codex so overpowered that you are actively encouraging players to not start them or play against them?

          • Marco Marantz

            they are basically immune to morale, have good shooting, excellent mobility, excellent melee, can horde up effectively and can degrade enemy in all aspects. I cant say whether tyranids will remain near the top because their is still a good number of codexes to go and you can see the gulf already between the early dexes and the last three. the fact that chapter approved leaks are showing a lot of points reductions for space marines shows just how much that codex has aged since a few months ago, and how uncompetitive early dexes are. I expect chaos to get similar treatment. I still dont think its enough to overcome the abilities of the better factions.

      • Jesse Sinclair

        Hahahahhahahhahahaha, great comedy post man.

        • Marco Marantz

          well you are lucky you dont have me in your area because i am very confident i could crush pretty much all factions save guard. much tighter against guard. im already seeing batreps where tyranids have the game wrapped up by turn 2 even against codex armies

          • Jesse Sinclair

            Yes, I’m sure you are a terror to behold. *eye roll*

            Tyranids are looking really solid, don’t get me wrong, I expect them to be able to go toe-to-toe against any Codex faction (the disparity between Codex and Index armies is getting really bad), but an “I win” button? No, nowhere near that. They are strong, not OP.

  • marxlives

    Num Num

  • ReveredChaplainDrake

    Philosophically, Nids always struck me as the kind of army where they would be hilariously OP if you list tailor because, while the book may have an answer to everything, you can’t *bring* that answer to every game. I think this book handles that pretty well, for better or worse. As such, it’ll be best in the hands of those who know their gaming group well. Or if you get lucky enough to bring rock to what turns out to be a scissor fight. Or the meta gets 5th-edition levels of horridly predictable. Or if you setup Malifaux-style “we each reveal our faction, determine the mission, and *then* we build our lists”. (Good luck talking your opponents into *that* anymore.)

    Tyranids seem to win and lose at the list building phase, and while you can throw that praise / accusation at a lot of armies, Tyranids seem to have it as their primary weakness. Not glass units. Not pillow-fisted melee. Not slow monsters. Not bad anti-tank shooting. Not even Synapse. Redundant specialization is their flaw. I’m torn on how I feel about that. I can dig it as a fluff hound, and you can’t say it’s not balanced, strictly speaking. Standing at the table though, it could be a little demoralizing to see that you didn’t draw a good match-up and then curl up into a ball and die for five turns as your dedicated anti-psyker shenanigans mean about as much to the local Tau player as the pretty pictures in the first half of the book.

    I wouldn’t count on Tyranids winning any tournaments. They certainly don’t play the hard-counter game as well as Eldar, whose worthwhile Aspect Warriors are pretty generalist, all things told. Nor are Nids as generally effective as IG, who have an extremely solid, versatile core of eighty billion guns with overlapping specialties. In either case, there’s only so many tactical liabilities “shoot you until you die” can have, and they often come down to the same thing they always have: whose army is more cost-effective?