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Tyranid Tactics: Exploding Gas Bags – the Humble Spore Mine

5 Minute Read
Nov 26 2019

Today we are going to talk about the original living bomb, the humble, you-probably-have-a-baggie-of-these-somewhere, disposable Spore Mines! 

Danny from TFG Radio here,

Spore Mine Basics

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • None: Yep, these little floating bugs have no equipment. 

Special Rules:

  • Instinctive Behavior: Unless within 24 inches of a HIVE FLEET synapse creature, -1 to hit for shooting attacks against any target that is not the closest, and -2 to charge a unit unless it is the closest.
  • Float Down: May deploy into reserves and land more than 12 inches away from an enemy.
  • Floating Death: Spore Mines explode if within 3 inches of any enemy at the end of any charge phase. If it explodes, the nearest enemy unit suffers 1 mortal wound on a 2-5, and D3 mortal wounds on a 6. The Spore Mines then takes a lap and hits the digestion pools.
  • Living Bombs: Spore Mines are never counted for victory conditions and are free if generated during the game.


Spore Mines were never super scary, but they do have tricks that make them a fun part of the army that can also completely catch people off-guard.  There isn’t much to say about the other than that they are slow and die to just about anything.  They also doubled in points from 7th edition, which can be a bit of a sticker shock of paying 10 points for a T1 W1 model with a 7+ save.  They do cause mortal wounds, which is nice, and a unit of 3 is capable of doing up to 9 mortal wounds, but that is super corner case.  For a full unit of 9, you can expect 8.1 mortal wounds if they all get to explode against the same target, which can be a fair trade depending what your 90 points is getting for its glorious death.  By the numbers, they are better offensively than Mucolids because you can just bring more of them.  Just like Mucolids, you can take them as an anti-assault curtain.  You can use them to bubble wrap Exocrines, Tyrannofexes, or Hive Guard, and then anyone trying to charge in is going to take a lot of mortal wounds. If you expect a lot of out of deepstrike assaults like Daemons or Orks, even a minimum unit of Spores can be great for creating a wall of “can’t land here” and if they get charged, big deal.  Other than that, they cannot enter from reserve within 12, and with movement 3, they are pretty much never going to get where they need to be. They are great when free though, and just like Mucolids, they do not count towards victory conditions.

Sneaky Spore Mine Tricks

While they cannot score objectives, they do count as intervening models, so you can do the whole character cover concept with a bunch of Spore Mines hiding out of LoS protecting your Broodlords as they scurry up the board. A fun tactic is to use the Stratagem Sporefield and bring in two units (so save some points) to create a wall of mines 12 inches away from your opponent’s deployment. This gets around the Big FAQ limitations as they deploy before the game begins.  This forces a bunch of bad choices. First, it limits their movement as anything that moves more than 12 suddenly has to move around them or over them (if they have Fly), so you are spending some points to control your opponent’s movement phase for a turn, which is not a bad deal truth to be told. If they have Smite, well, those spores have to take it first unless you have like a Warp-Timed Magnus flying over them. Lastly, your opponent has to dedicate shooting to them which saves your own lines a bit of heat. Of course, if you go first, you get to move them forward and maybe get some nice mortal wounds on a hard target or just damage some chaff lines (or really frustrate your opponent by just boxing them in more). If you are feeling really saucy, if you have Swarmlord, you can string them back a little bit, so he can catch them in range of his double move, and then you can pretty much guarantee that they are going to blow up all together against a single target, which can be gobsmackingly good against say Knights.  Of course, that’s if you go first. 

Again, Hive Fleet isn’t super important here except for Kraken for the far more reliable advance rolls to help them get where they want to be or Kronos for spreading out the aura of “get rekted, psyker”. Kronos is not at all a bad choice if you are doing the Sporefield trick as it really helps catch those pesky psykers hanging out in your opponent’s deployment zone. It also means if you go second, you can likely catch the psyker with the most obnoxious power to turn off, which for say an army built around Warp-Time is a lot of comedy.  

The Cons…

The downside is again, cost. Tyranids run some pretty points-strained lists, so having 10 points per model living bombs is not at all ideal. Again, mortal wounds are awesome, but Spore Mines are deceptively expensive, and you want a lot of them to really make them work. At T1, everything wounds them on 2s, so even just a character with a bolt pistol is going to pop one more times than not, so they are not hard at all to clear in a single shooting phase. Their only real defense is to stay out of LoS or go first. They have the same inherent problems at Mucolids: they are best used to exploit enemy mistakes, but they are very easy to negate by a savvy opponent. The whole deploy 12 or more away is also frustrating as it again makes it very hard for you to surprise an opponent with them save for Sporefield, which is also 3 CPs.  Saving 90ish or even 180 points and spending 3 CPs is a pretty hefty fee to try and pull off the Sporefield trick, which won’t always work against some armies, especially ones that have a lot of high volume fire, which with the resurgence of Orks, is certainly more common. If you are going against an army with Scouts/Nurglings, the Sporefield trick stops working as they can’t land anywhere choice. Spores are great to have though if you are running Biovores as well, when they are free, they are totally awesome. 

65/100. Getting there, but they are just a touch too expensive.

~How have you been using Spore Mines?



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