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The New Tyranid Meta

12 Minute Read
Jan 26 2014

If you missed out 40k webcast featuring the new Tyranids book, don’t fret, we got the video and all our codex notes below!

It’s TYRANIDS TIME BABY!  That’s right the bugs are back, but just how good are they?? Click the video below, or read our very own David Boucher’s notes.

Remember though, these notes are just a raw summary of what we saw in the new book.  We of course reserve the right to back petal at any time if proven incorrect! -MBG

Tyranid Synopsis

Shadow In The Warp:
Apparently the idea that GW was going to take away all defensive psychic abilities that effected blessings was wrong. This ability reduces the LD of any psyker in 12” by 3. Not psychic check, but LD. Look out Jetseers.

Synapse is a big deal in this book.  Instinctive behavior got a bit more random and dangerous. You need to make sure you always have range.

Regenerate. This got good. A 4+ to regen is like It Will Not Die on crack. This is one of the things that lessens the loss of BRB powers.
Adrenal Glands. IMO this may be the best thing in the codex. Being able to give any MC Fleet and Furious Charge is huge. This makes your bugs fast and able to get into HTH like they should. This upgrade is HUGE for many reasons that will be covered.
Weapons: Most weapons stayed roughly the same the big changes are Boneswords gained AP3 and Lash whips do not reduce your opponents I but increase your own by 3
Crushing Claws: These are now +1S Ap2 Unwieldy
Thorax Weapons: These are affordable now and decent. Though I only see Sheddershard Bettles getting real play. A template weapon that rends with shred.

The Maw-Claws-Too expensive for rending claws that grant PE AFTER you have killed a model in HTH. With its AP5 it is best on a MC, but no Tyrant should be buying them. Maybe a Trygon Prime if you have 10 points to spare.
Norn Crown: This piece of wargear is a bit pricey, but the extra 6” synapse could be invaluable. Basically gives you the Synaptic Lynchpin Warlord Trait which can stack with the Synaptic Lynchpin and also Dominion.
Miasma Cannon I can see this getting some play time. I think it would be interesting on a Prime or Tervigon. A blast  or flamer that is poison 2+ is not shabby. It is about 5 points too pricey, but not a bad choice if you have those points at the end of your list.
Ymargl Factor: This allows the model with it to change its form each assault phase. It is the only left over of Ymargl Stealers in the book. You can choose +1A, +1S or +1 to your save but you can not choose the same thing two phases in a row. The bonus only lasts until the end of the phase. If it lasted until the end of the turn I could see this being good, but as is, I would spend those points on a Biovore.
Reaper of Obliterax: Another HTH weapon. This one is actually OK. It is a Bone Sword Lash combo. It causes Instant Death on a roll of 6 and grants +3 to your I. It also has +1 S and Shred. This is the most expensive of the artifacts. I only see it getting play on either type of Prime in certain builds as it almost will never be worth its points.

Psychic Powers:
The Tyranid Chart is actually pretty good. Everything on it is useful to a Hive Tyrant and all the powers have good synergy for the list.
Primaris: Dominion. There is a lot of grumbling about this one. People seem to think that extending your synapse range by 6” is not that great. In this codex it is. Any tervigon that does not roll Onslaught or Catalyst needs to grab this. They are best suited for this power. Also, a Hive Tyrant with this and a Norn Crown is a good anchor in an army. Also, if your Warlord has Synaptic Lynchpin you will never have to worry about being out of Synapse.
1: Catalyst:  This is the star power. It grants the caster and his unit FNP and another unit FNP in 12” Another thing that lessens the loss of BRB powers
2: The Horror: This is the default power of Broodlords. This power forces a unit within 24” to take a pinning check at -2 LD. A nice combo with Shadows if they are Psychic. This is good for assaulting units in cover.
3: Onslaught: This is another gem of the powers. A lot of hate going for this one online, but people fail to see its synergy. This is an amazing power for those Adrenal Gland equipped MC’s. You can run with a reroll and still fire allowing you to close on the enemy to threaten HTH while still using your guns. A FMC with this is so good. Imagine a Flyrant that runs 2d6 rerolling 1 or both dice and still shooting 12 S6 BS4 shots. That is back armor all day.
4: Paroxym: This is an ability that got “nerfed” from the last book. Instead of reducing the unit to WS and BS 1 it reduces both by 1d3. It does stack with itself and is available to Other psykers now. Plus, everyone was taking BRB powers so it never got play anyway, so how can it be “nerfed”
5: Psychic Scream: Basically the Light Beer version of the Parasites old ability. It’s a Nova power with a 6” range. All units in range roll 2d6+2 and subtract their LD. They take this many wounds. Average roll is a 9 so most units will take 1 or 2 wounds. However, this does work great on psyker units when combined with Shadows. Make that Demon Prince take a check on LD 6.
6: Warp Blast: The only power that cost 2 warp charges. It has two modes of fire like before. Either 18” S10 AP2 Lance or 24” S5 AP3 blast. This is the default power of Zoanthropes. The only other thing that can get it is a Tyrant or the Swarmlord. On a Flyrant it is a good ability. Imagine shooting those pesky Flying Demon Princes with a S10 shot that can Instant kill them.

Hive Tyrant
Arguably the best thing in the codex. This beast when down in cost and gained BS4. He also gained Psyker level 2. This bad boy should always be equipped with wings and the standard dual Devourer build. Taking Adrenal Glands and/or Regen on him is good. I would argue that Adrenal Glands is a must. The Norn Crown could be useful here too. When he rolls powers you obviously are hoping for Onslaught and Catalyst.

Swarmlord: Not much has changed here. He gained an attack and a psychic level but lost his ability to force rerolls on invulnerable saves. He is not a bad buy per-se but really is overshadowed by the Flyrants. He has the set warlord trait to make his synapse 18”

Tervigon: There is a lot of Flak being directed at this boy. He went up in cost, can no longer give out his abilities, his range of death when he dies went up by 6” and he no longer gets to trade in 3 powers in the BRB powers. Also you need termagants in squads of 30 to unlock him as a troop now. The thing is, you still need one or two of them as troops. He can get Regen and be survivable still, he gets one roll, and rerolls the 6 as he is only a level one so you have a 1/5 chance at catalyst. He also benefits the most out of Dominion. He can take the Miasma Cannon and have good range too. The previous one was a bit OP, this one is much more balanced.


Tyranid Prime: The only IC in the book. This guy is in a strange place. His HTH stats are formidable but his sticker price is high. He does not have access to the bigger guns so is best used with the Miasma Cannon or pure HTH most of the time. He does still give his WS and BS to Warrior and Shrike units. He also gained Shadows. He is a good buy to put into a unit of Fexes to use Look Out Sir to make the unit more survivable.

Deathleaper: Everyone’s favorite Lictor got moved to HQ. This may limit his usefulness as most Nid players will opt for two Flyrants. He still does the whole LD reducing thing. He pops up with no scatter and can only be shot at with snap fire. Not horrible, but he is competing in the slot that is almost always predetermined. He has the set Warlord trait to gain extra 2 VPs in challenges against IC’s. So not going to happen.

Old One Eye: Old One Eye has also made the shift to HQ. His rules are more streamlined. Basically a Carnifex with Crushing Claws, Sy Tals and Regen. He also hands out his Ld8 to nearby units. He has a tail weapon too. His warlord trait grants him FNP after he suffers a wound. With no Adrenal Glands, you are better off making your own Old One Eye from a regular Fex.

Tyrant Guard: Not much has changed with these guys. They do have access to crushing claws which means AP2. Only should take with the Swarmlord as your other Tyrants should Fly.


Tyranid Warriors:  These guys gained Shadows which is nice, but really don’t have too much going for them which is sad since they are my favorite Nid unit since 3rd. They only get 1 Bio Cannon and only the weak one per unit. The best you could do here is max out deathspitters. Its not too bad. Each Warrior would have 6 S5 shots. You would have to park them in cover with a Venomthrope though.

Termagant: These little guys are so cheap. I would take them with no upgrades. 1-2 units of 30 is a must to unlock those Tervigons as Troops.


Hormagant: Another unit that is getting Flak. These guys are great. 5 points a pop. All of your gants after the 30-60 termagants should be these guys. With Fleet and the +3” run they are a turn 2 assault threat. This means that either they get ignored and charge turn two or they get shot and take firepower off of your other units.

Ripper Swarms:  These guys went up in points and didn’t gain much. They no longer kill themselves when out of synapse. Pass on these guys.

Genestealers: Nothing changed here. Broodlord gets Horror standard.


Hive Guard:  These guys went up 5 points and down 1 BS. They are probably balanced TBH. They also gained a new gun that is blast and Haywire at S5 18” range. Not bad, but I see the Impaler Cannon being standard still

Lictor:  What can I say? Blah These should never be in a list IMO. They  have stealth so there is that. But they are only T4 and a 5+ save. Distraction unit maybe? But their 50 points is better spent elsewhere.

Zoanthrope:  These guys took a nerf bat more than most. The lose of Spore Drop Pods makes them vulnerable and their brotherhodd of Psyker rule hurts. They do get as many warp blast shots as there are models, but no other power gets that benefit and the unit not each model gets one more roll on the table. So to use a power other than Warp Blast sacrifices a lot and has to be so dire to think of it.

Venomthrope: These guys are stars. Cheaper than before and Shrouded to all units in 6”. Great buy for the army to protect your models. They will always have a 3+ cover as they should be hiding somewhere. The go great with an Aegis wall to give units a 2+ cover. Granted Tau have ignore cover weapons, but they have lots of other threats to worry about.

Pyrovore: Still Garbage. Never, ever buy these guys unless your are playing a game using all your models for fun.


Haruspex: The best way to describe him is a HTH Fex in the elite slot. He has a lot of attacks and an extra wound. In all honesty though, its hard to justify a pure HTH MC in this list when you can get so many that can shoot and assault well..

Fast Attack:

Tyranid Shrikes: Good old warriors with wings and a worse save. It’s a travesty that the Prime did not get a Wing option to lead them. They have all the same options as the warriors do and at the same price. So you could do the 2x deathspitter option and use their wings for some speed. However you will have to rely on those cover saves or catalyst to survive. For fans of Warriors, they have a place in fun builds.

Harpy: Not much has changed. Pretty Cheap.His screech reduces I by 5 now. Everything he does something else in the list does better. If you want a flyer other than the Tyrant, take a Crone.

Crone: Same stats as the harpy and has a flame template. He is a bit more expensive than the Harpy, but he can target vehicles and flyers whereas the Harpy suffers there. He has a Slash attack at S8 which is great and has his 4 missiles that have haywire and reroll against flyers and FMC in the air. He is a decent buy and should almost always get the jump on enemy flyers. I can see him in competitive builds.

Gargolyes: They fill the same roll as before.

Skyslashers:  Like Rippers, leave them at home.

Spore Mine Clusters: See Biovore. These guys got better

Ravenors: They lost an attack but gained the Red terror as an upgrade. They fill the same roll as before and at this point don’t see any real new strategies for them even with the Red Terror.

Heavy is the most crowded slot in the Nid Book.


Trygon: This bad boy lost a few attacks. Granted he has a shooting attack, he has a hard time competing against some of the other bugs in the book. His HTH is nothing to write home about and neither is his shooting.

Trygon Prime: This guy is interesting as he can buy Bio-Artefacts. I need to digest that more to see more potential from him. Besides that he is a synapse creature in the heavy spot. Not much better abilities than the regular Trygon. I see him being useful in a rush list to keep the synapse in range or a lower point game to get synapse and a monster bug in one.

Mawlock:  A lot of people are loving on the new Mawlock rules. I am not as much. Granted they got cheaper and cheaper is great, especially at 140 points for 6 wounds, but his Terror from Deep rule became a liability. Granted if he doesn’t kill everything under it, he gets a second go at it, but that second try is hardly guaranteed and if fails to kill them all he mishaps. 5 out of 6 mishaps are ok for him as being in reserves or misplaced is fine for him. The issue is the destroyed result. This should be the same as a 1 in 36 not a 1 in 216 as suggested. If you hit a unit of 6 models or more you should get a one, so that 1 can’t be counted in the equation. It’s the roll of a 1 after that and the 6 on the mishap. You have to be sure about the risk involved.

Tyranofex: The toughest of all the bugs in the book. He went down considerably. But he seems a waste. Sure the rupture cannon is S10, but with only 2 shots and BS3 it wont do anything really. You have better options for anti tank in this codex. I wish they had given him more attacks and then I would have loved him.

Exocrine: Another one of the new bugs. Like the Haruspex he is much like a Carnifex with an extra wound and less S. What he does have is a great gun. Either a plasma cannon with a large template or 6 plasma shots that don’t get hot. He also gets BS 4 if he stands still. With his large amounts of AP2 shooting and survivability I think he should be in a lot of lists. He is your answer to things like Riptides and Broadsides.

Biovore: A lot has been said about th Biovore by a lot of people and rightfully so. A 5 point decrease and an extra wound are fantastic. These guys are amazing and spore mines got better. They are no longer random in their movement. The Nid player gets to move them at half speed. Also when cluster blow up, they add +1 S for each extra spore mine in the unit, allowing them to hurt vehicles. There is also an interesting wording in the rules for when the biovores miss. The spore mines are placed on the table. This means that they can assault still.

Carnifex: One of the units that got the biggest face lift. They went way down in points making them viable again. They have access to tones of stuff. I think most people will see that taking the tradional Dakka Fex is great in units of 3. 3 of these guys with Regen, Adrenal Galnds, double devourers is so hot. So hard to kill. Throw in Catalyst, Onslaught some cover saves and maybe a Prime and you have one tough Death Star that can shoot and assault. I plan on taking a unit of 3.

Overall it is still too early to truly rate this book, but it is not at the bottom like most think but actually closer to the top. 

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