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Imperial Armor: Tyranid Tactica & New Gribblies!

8 Minute Read
Aug 29 2014

 Hello everyone! John aka jifel here to show you the light in regards to some of the new toys that the Tyranids have received!

 Whether you’re looking to play with or against these resin goodies, you’re going to want to know more! If you’re interested in reading some battle reports featuring bugs, feel free to check out my blog, Knighthammer 40k, and read about my games at the ATC last month.

 Recently Tyranids have received some love in the form of a Forge World update to Imperial Armor 4: The Anphelion project. In addition to one new unit, all of the non Apocalypse bugs inside got slapped with a new set of rules. Good news for any Tyranid player! 
The Book:

 The first thing I noticed when my copy came in the mail was the size of this hardcover tome. Compared to your standard codex, this is at least an inch taller and wider, plus slightly thicker. When opening the Volume, it is just as pretty as most of Forge World’s projects: Full color, and the interior is set up like the notes of a Historian, with snippets of the diary of Inquisitor Lok and some great pictures of the models, photoshopped to look more realistic. There’s also a great collection of artwork of individual units. If you’ve never owned one before, the Imperial Armor books look much more like a 41st millennium textbook than the catalog that recent codexes look like. 
Before it gets into the rules, the book goes over the fluff of the Anphelion project. Inquisitor Lok, of the Ordo Xenos, investigates a facility on Anphelion that has been labelled high threat with no explanation. With the aid of a Cadian regiment, Inquisitorial Detachment, and the Red Scorpions chapter, they discover a facility researching Tyranids that has gone horribly wrong. 
From a few specimens behind a fence, a massive swarm has grown. The various Imperials reach several different stations and reactivate the energized fences around them. The Tyranid evolve, however, when flying swarms completely wipe out the Cadians and destroy most of the Inquisitorial air support. The Red Scorpions realize that the situation is hopeless after rescuing several brothers from a crashed Thunderhawk, and with no civilians to save, they leave the planet. Inquisitor Lok, however, elects to stay and his Inquisitorial detachment attempts to collect more information, but are gradually overwhelmed. The background ends with a final dispatch as Lok records the slaying of a Bio-titan, only to note more approaching on the Horizon. The fluff ends with a very distinct sense that the humans are slaughtered, and that the Hive Mind eventually continues to evolve and assimilates the planet while waiting for a Hive Fleet that is incoming to collect the Bio mass. The Imperium learns much however, like the fact that Tyranids can continue to eat and evolve from even a base organism into a larger one. From a research accident with a small number of lower level bioforms come a vast host of ‘Nids and even several bio titans as the Tyranids evolve wings, and grow in size. 
The Rules:
The Anphelion project treats Tyranid players to a host of new rules, and one new unit entirely. For the purpose of this review, I will only be covering the non-Lords of War. Although all of the LoW for the Nids are in this book, none of them have received any rules changes and are identical to those found in the various Apocalypse/Escalation books, so I would rather cover the rules that are new. 
The Dimachaeron: A six wound Tyranid monster that leaps 6″ a turn and has a hilarious amount of attacks that can inflict Instant Death on a 4+ to wound. 

This bad boy has 6 attacks base, and rampage, meaning he can hit TEN attacks on the charge. Ouch! With a high Weapon Skill and Ap.2, plus Instant Death all over, this guy may just be the premiere Close Combat unit in the army. However, there is the question of how much Tyranids need him? Despite his Close Quarters prowess, the Dimachaeron can only move 6″ a turn, and even with a fleet run isn’t exactly a speedster. Plus, every single opponent will crap themselves when reading his Close Combat rules, and will do everything they can to make sure he doesn’t get there! With no options for outflank, Deep Strike, or transports, this guy simply has to cross the distance the old fashioned way. It’s worth mentioning that he leaps 6″ a turn over models and terrain, but 6″ isn’t much better than a normal MC in terrain. He is also just 2 quarters shy of a Land Raider, making him not cheap at all. Many other codexes run into the issue of slow moving assault units, it’s why we don’t see Mutilators anywhere for Chaos Marines. Ultimately the Dimachaeron is deadly in close combat but is no more worth his points than any other unit in the Tyranids fast attack slot. He has a sweet model, but competitively doesn’t offer anything new that the codex doesn’t have. He is best served as a fire magnet because of his slow speed and close combat ability, but the Tyranid codex can already do that without spending more than $100 on a single model.
  Final verdict? If you like the model he won’t hurt your list, just your wallet, but competitively you can use his points just as well without spending as much. 

Tyranid Malanthrope: An 85 ppm brood of 1-3 guys, with 4 T5 wounds each. Each Malanthrope gives Synapse as well as a 6″ Shrouded bubble, and has 2+ poison. Plus, if he’s in an assault that kills a unit, he gives Preferred Enemy of that codex to bugs within 12″ of him! 

I won’t claim to be the first or only person to notice this, but the Malanthrope is absolutely amazing. Compared to the standard Venomthrope, the Malanthrope brings a big package. He’s bigger, tougher, deadlier, and wraps both of the Codex ‘Thropes into a single resin package! For less than a Venom and Zoanthrope, he gives the primary benefit of both, synapse and shrouded. What makes the Malanthrope truly awesome however is that he isn’t a pushover physically. Although still a great support unit, he can easily take on squads of grunts in Close combat and is tougher than a Venomthrope and Zoanthrope together, meaining he won’t die the first time your opponent stares at him! This means he can advance with and support the rest of your army while being tough enough to help out instead of having to hide. If you see this guy on the table opposite of you, be prepared to put some effort into slaying him. But, be warned, a Tyranid army will be twice as hard to kill if you don’t deal with him first… 
Final Verdict? This guy is amazing from a competitive standpoint. I bought this book purely for him, and have no regrets. Because he’s in the Tyranid army he won’t break the game, but will take take a Tyranid level up a notch on the competitive level. 
Meiotic Spores: Imagine a bigger spore mine! These are cheap, but can shoot themselves 6″ as a Heavy Flamer stat large blast that removes them from play, and if you kill them you simply replace them with d3+1 smaller Spore Mines. 
These big boys Deep Strike before turn 1, which means they can be fun with infiltrating Lictors who have no-scatter bubbles. Although they don’t give up kill points, these are fully designed to die once and hope that their death accomplishes something. I personally don’t believe they are worth the points, but I will allow that they are highly distracting and fun to put close to your opponent. My problem is that, if your opponent goes first, they will be killed with very little effort by small arms that likely would have had no impact on turn 1 anyways. For a decent blast, you pay too much for toughness 3, no save and a 6″ range. Again, they look quite fun in a fluffy game and will certainly do damage if you go first against an infantry army, but there are too many things that must go right, and they can be killed by a breeze. Even a guardsman has a 50% chance of killing one! 
Stone Crusher Carnifex: This wrecking ball of an MC has Carnifex stats with strength 10, but when being shot at treats all guns as -1 strength, and his d3 Hammer of Wrath attacks are Ap. 2 and gain Monster Hunter/Armorbane against non Flyer models.  

This guy gets a premium toughness benefit for 30 points more than your average Carnifex, plus a wealth of Close Combat options. He lacks the shooting options of the standard ‘Fex, but still may take Bio Plasma (imagine a 12″ plasma cannon without gets hot). His Close Combat options, however, are where he starts to get crazy… Wrecker Claws are AP1 with his Strength 10, can re-roll Pen rolls and get +1 on the building damage chart. Suffice to say that he will completely remove any armor unit in the game short of a titan, but even that may die after a few rounds. His other option, for roughly the cost of a Marine, is a Bio-Flail, which is again Strength 10 AP1, but gains Instant Death and may substitute his base attacks for the number of models in base contact. Ow! Personally I prefer the Bio-flails, as he will be potent anti tank with them but also can put some pain on Monstrous Creatures and hordes. Ultimately tough, we again have an MC that is great in Close Combat but very slow moving. The Fex is a great counter assault due to his toughness and ability to be taken in units up to 3, but isn’t broken by any stretch. Two base attacks kills the Wrecker Claws for me, as he is too slow to guarantee getting the charge. If you’d like to take him, I can only recommend the Bio-Flails, as they let him deal with a much wider variety of targets. 
Final Verdict? He is very list dependent. The Stonecrusher is a nice compliment to a Nidzilla list with Monsters all over, but he won’t add as much to a flyer heavy list. 
Closing Thoughts:
I believe that the Forge World units help Tyranids a lot to be a little more competitive, it is common knowledge that they aren’t the best army in the game. Without breaking the game though, they are mostly solid choices that can add some fun diversity to a Nid army. For those that don’t allow Forge World, I think they are really hurting Tyranids, who can compete just a little better with some Resin toys. 
Are you excited for the Imperial Armor update? Which unit do you want to include in your Tyranid army? And do you think it is good for the game to allow more Forge World in? Let’s hear it!   

Author: Guest Columnist
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