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40K Lore: Tyranids – You Are What They Eat

4 Minute Read
Feb 3 2019

Tyranids rely on the shroud of the unknown to cloak their weaknesses and instill a sense of fear in even the most stalwart soldier–today we dispel the fog of mystery to reassure one and all that Tyranids aren’t as big a danger as you think.

Rest easy Loremasters and Loremaster-initiates. With all this word of Genestealer Cultists and uprisings and ascension days in the air, we mustn’t let a sense of panic or foreboding interfere with our duty to the Emperor. After all, Tyranids and their ilk are only a threat when you do not understand them. In the wake of the Hive Fleets, we’ve been able to learn much about the way they operate, and truly they’re not so different. They are biological organisms, like any other, they can be killed with the proper application of firepower.

They even require sustenance in order to continue their drive across the Galaxy. And today we’re going to take a look at the feeding process to show the fate of any world where a Genestealer Cult infestation is left unchecked. We all know that the uprisings fomented by Genestealer Cults are meant to throw a planet’s loyal defenders into disarray, weakening resistance for the approaching Hive Fleet. But they are only one cog in the Tyranids’ vast arsenal to leave a planet unable to resist its invasion.

And when a planet is conquered, consumption of the planet’s resources begins. Bacterial agents and vast tracts of feeder organisms, pupated from the carcasses of native life forms, ravage the landscape of every ounce of biological matter before being collected into Reclamation Pools, where the matter is rendered into a thick, nutrient-rich gruel.These feeder organisms are the simplest, but most numerous of all Tyranid bioforms, and are capable of reducing a world to nothing but lifeless rock.

The Reclamation pools too are an interesting part of any Tyranid invasion. Once the feeder organisms have consumed what they can–as creatures such as Rippers and Malanthropes consume all the planet’s biological material and bring it to be broken down into the soupy, gruel-like biomass. Organic matter of any kind is drawn into the pools, from mutated plant life (that has filtered the proper gases into the atmosphere before being consumed), to infested organisms, like the former Cultists, who will then march blank-faced into the pools’ depths to be consumed by the Hive Fleet.


Malanthropes are known to single out specific foes and powerful creatures to devour and ensure that their genetic material is passed on to the Hive’s Norn-Queens to be used in the construction of further biomorphs, before jumping into the pools and being consumed themselves.

Meanwhile, Capillary Towers, Tyranid plants that reach the upper atmosphere (and beyond), grow at the base of these Reclamation Pools.  The capillary towers are capable of growing in the deepest of seas, able to sustain the pressure of the depths and the coldest of waters. As they grow the planet’s tidal flow is altered by their powerful metabolic filtration systems, used to draw all biomass, including the sea and the atmosphere of a world. Vast drone-ship haulers descend to low orbit and extrude a sucking proboscis-like feeding tube from low orbit and connect with the Capillary Towers, which then pump the dissolved biomass upwards where it will be distributed to the waiting biovessels.

Eventually the Hive Fleet will depart, having left the world a desolate airless rock stripped down to the molecular level, to begin the consumption process on another world–which is nothing that the Imperium isn’t capable of with its powerful (but valuable) Exterminatus weapons.

So you see Loremasters? There’s nothing to worry about–if the Genestealer Cultists are not stopped, their uprising will be short lived and the work of Exterminatus will have already been accomplished for the Imperium, saving it valuable weaponry that can be used on worlds that are much more deserving of the Emperor’s wrath.


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