BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

Warhammer 40K: Tyranids Forge World Unit Review

10 Minute Read
Nov 24 2020

Today, we look over the new Tyranid rules for Tyranids in the updated Forge World Compendium.  This week we are looking at the “smaller” bugs.

Danny from TFG Radio here,

First off, RIP to Shrikes.  They are the only Forge World entry that we lost, and ya know, that’s unfortunate. I think one thing that Tyranids could use is a medium or heavy infantry unit to be a hammer in the missions, and Shrikes could have been that with some changes, but oh well, such is life.  Second, in the 30,000 foot view, the Forge World update gives a lot more zoom to Nidzilla. Let’s go!


The Malanthrope gets a lot of strong buffs here, and while it pays for them to an extent, for a Nidzilla style list, one Malanthrope yet again becomes somewhat of an auto-include.  First, the bad, yes, the Malanthrope did increase in points, making it one of our more expensive HQs, but that’s not always a bad thing. For 15 more points, you get a lot more use out of the Malanthrope thanks to doubling the range of its aura to 6”, giving a single Malanthrope a lot more room to maneuver as you don’t have to just hug every monster possible. It also helps if running a horde as with the new coherency rules, it can be hard to keep multiple squads all within 3″ of the Malanthrope, but not as much of a problem now.   Honestly, that’s already worth the 15 points right there.

But wait, there’s more.  The Malanthrope is actually a bit more threatening now with 4 S5 AP-1 D2 attacks that reroll to wound, much better than before as the Malanthrope can actually maybe kill a model or two.  Enhanced Toxic Miasma also got a significant enhancement as now it does d3 mortal wounds rather than just 1.  Lastly, Prey Adaption can now be unlocked by having an enemy unit die within 3” of the Malanthrope rather than 1″, meaning a Malanthrope doesn’t actually have to get into the fight to activate the aura.

The rest of its stats stay the same, so it is still a T5 9W Monster with FLY, making it hard to kill at range as long as it is hiding, and really, even though it is pricey, it becomes a good candidate for While We Stand, We Fight as unless you are getting tabled, it is pretty easy to hide the Malanthrope for 5 turns, denying your opponent victory points.  That said, that synergy is a bit limited if going Nidzilla since you will be taking other models that cost more than 150.   If doing an infantry horde, the Malanthrope becomes a cool meta choice as it is a good candidate for WWSWF but also, not being a psyker, it doesn’t bleed other secondaries to your opponent like a lot of our HQs do.

All in all, this is a solid upgrade, and while it is not early 8th levels of must-take due to being appropriately costed, a Malanthrope should always be a first instinct for a mandatory HQ option.

Meiotic Spores:

I loved these little bombs since 8th edition thanks to their deployment shenanigans and their damage output, particularly when combined with Swarmlord and Kraken. That trick is still mostly there, but really, in early 9th, I found that the best use of the Meiotic Spores was to deploy them in the center and help dictate the movement game in the first turn.  That doesn’t happen anymore.


Meiotic Spores lost Outriders of the Swarm, so they now can deploy in Reserve for free with the usual limitations.  This is not so good as unless they make a charge out of reserve, they are not really going to surprise anyone.  Losing the advanced deploy hurts, and it really removes a critical tool from the Bug toolkit.  We now have no means to advance deploy, and that shuts down a fun avenue of attack that I liked to exploit.

On the good side, they actually do more damage on average now, causing 3 mortal wounds on a 4+ and d3 on a 2-3.  You can’t spike like crazy anymore, but then consistent results are generally the needed component to success.  I’d much rather be able to more accurately predict how many wounds a squad will do rather than have a wide variance that is much more a guess than a tactical decision.

They stayed the same in points, so that’s something, and you can still deploy them on the table if you wish, so if you really want to try and be aggressive, with their 2 wounds, they are still good targets for Metabolic Overdrive, and in Kraken, their movement 3” is much less painful when you are much more likely to get a 4+ on the advance roll.  If you really love the Meiotic Spore+Swarmlord+Kraken blitz, which certainly catches people off guard, then they are still usable, but that is a very specific trick to be sure.

Overall, they are less useful than before, and that’s a shame.

Sky-Slasher Swarms

So, Sky-Slasher Swarms were already not the most common sight on the battlefield, and after this update, they will likely stay that way, but they didn’t get any worse, so maybe there are some plays.  Really, the only change to them was that they can natively come in from reserve on their own, which is nice as really, besides the difference in movement, 3Ss are just more expensive Ripper Swarms, and the true utility of the Ripper is that they can come in from reserve and are Obsec, so in that regard, 3Ss are just not as good.

But, in 9th, when bodies matter, I can see an argument for them now.  With movement 12 and our usual bevy of movement tricks, you can send a squad of 9 pretty far afield, and at 5 points per T3 wound, they are about as survivable as a gaunt swarm but much faster.  They don’t have Obsec, which is really crucial for winning the objective game, but with only 9 models, they are easier to hide than a swarm of Gants, and with their speed on a shortened board, they can hop between objectives much faster than Gants. 3Ss are really an interesting choice here with some plays, but they have a really steep learning curve, so you are either going to use them exceptionally well or they will just flounder.

Overall, I don’t think they’ll get much play unless you are pulling some Galaxy-brain style shenanigans.



There is a lot of ballyhoo about the Dimachaeron, and the changes are generally in the positive, but I don’t quite see it as a total win here, but it is certainly mostly a win.  I am still very glad that I own 3.

I don’t think I can remember a single rule being changed so completely and so much for the better than the Leaper-Killer rule.  Now, it gives us the 5++, but also, it gives us a version of early 8th edition FLY in terms of movement, allowing a Dima to just skip all over enemy models and terrain.  This gives the Dima so much mobility, and while other monsters are stymied by terrain, Dima’s just don’t care, and Dima’s also don’t care about screening models. You can just walk over them or charge over them to get to sweeter meat or go tag the objective that they were trying to screen you out of.  That’s real good.

The Dima coming in with a 5++ is awesome, and any Big Bug with an invulnerable save is already ahead of the curve.  This really adds to its survivability, and it saves you having to use one of your precious Adaptive Physiology on it.  The change to its Digestion Spine rule is a bit odd, but being able to get the Dima to a 5+++ Feel No Pain style save is delicious, making the Dima one of our most survivable creatures without having to use any outside resources on it.  A 5++ and a 5+++ is generally about a 50% damage reduction all told, and with new and improved 18 wounds, that’s pretty awesome.

Getting Digestion Spine to trigger is a bit harder now though as it is not just a straight “kill something with this weapon” but rather, after you attack, you select a model within Engagement Range (1” horizontal, 5” vertical), that model’s player must roll a D6 and add its Strength, and if it doesn’t beat a 7, that model’s unit takes d6 mortal wounds, and finally, if those mortal wounds kill a model, then you get the 5+++ FnP.  So math wise, a Space Marine is going to pass on a 4+, so that’s not great odds, but then, you don’t have to actually kill anything with your attacks either, so theoretically, you could swing in on a character, not kill it, the character rolls a 1 (and is not S7 base), and then takes d6 mortal wounds and maybe dies, which is hilarious.  It is a tad more complex, but hey, we already got a 5++, so getting the FnP is just super icing on the cake.

You also get a nice boost to 18 Wounds, S7 and T7, making the Dima more survivable.  This is much more in line with the actual model itself as it never made sense that the big bug (literally, taller than almost any other model in our entire line) was only T6 and 14 wounds.  There is a downside here though: the Dima cannot benefit from Obscuring Terrain, so there is no way to hide now.  One of my favorite tricks was to park a Dima behind Obscuring Terrain and just skip over next turn to fight, but now, my opponent has the chance to open up on it.  Give and take.

Offensively, the Dima is much more consistent in output.  It loses a lot of variance, not able to get the super big swings of power, but d3+3 damage is very nice indeed, and AP-3 is always respectable. This is generally very predictable damage, and very high damage.  S8 attacks are not awesome against targets like Knights, but remember, the Dima is a monster, so for 1 CP, you can reroll wounds, taking some of that sting out.  The Dima loses WS 2+ natively, but it gains a native reroll to its primary melee attack, and a rerollable WS 3+ is better than flat 2+, and if you take the Dima in a custom Hive Fleet with Prey Sight, you get a 2+ rerollable on the charge, and that is straight cash money.

The Dima does go up a bit in points to a hefty 230, but that’s a lot of bug for 230, and again, it got on paper more survivable for not much of an increase.


My only worry is the lack of benefiting from Obscuring Terrain.  This still a primarily shooting game, and T7 with a 5++ and 18 wounds sounds tough as hell, but with some of the heat that other armies put out, it really might not be.  If you stack on the usual Tyranid buffs, a Dima will not be a gimme-kill, but it is also not going to shrug off dedicated firepower, especially since its degrading profile hits two of its most important stats: Movement and WS.  I’ll have much more thoughts later when I do an updated Entry profile on the
Dimachaeron on its own.

Overall, they were still good before, but they are definitely better now, but don’t underestimate how important Obscuring Terrain can be.

Stone Crusher Carnifexes

This is another weird hit to a unit that didn’t get a ton of love anyway.  The first big change is that they can no longer be taken as a Brood, which just doesn’t make sense as that’s how Carnifexes roll. They are designed to work as a spam unit, overwhelming your opponent with 6+  of them as individually, they aren’t actually that threatening.  Now being limited to just 3 in total seems odd.

They still can’t take any biomorphs, which hurts as they really needed Adrenal Glands and Tusks, which would really up them.  They did get a boost to flat strength, bringing them up to S7, which also helps out the Bio-Flail which is now S8, so that’s something. The Bio-Flail is just much easier to use and just gives the SC 8 attacks at S8 AP-1 D2, which isn’t bad at killing Primaris bodies, but it isn’t great since AP-1 is not super clutch.

Their bespoke charging rule is just better now, doing d3 mortals against any target and d6 against a Vehicle or Monster (much more useful than Building).  Their emphasis away from Buildings is also good for the Wrecker Claws which now just reroll hits and are D5 against Vehicles/Monsters, making them hit pretty hard against the right targets.  They also get +1 to hit on the charge like other Carnifexes, so that’s nice.  It certainly make Double-Wreckers much more reliable as a rerollable WS 3+ is good.

Points wise, Bio-Flails stay the same and Wrecker Claws are 5 points more than before, so they are actually relatively cheap, but the weird thing is that model wise, the kit doesn’t come with 2 bio-flails, and you have to choose either double flails or double claws, which again, seems really odd to me.  8 S8 attacks aren’t bad, but again, SC still need a good way to get there, and without Monstrous Brood, you can’t stack 4 or 5 with the hope that 2 or 3 get there.

Overall, Stone-Crushers are probably not going to see much play, which is too bad. One does make an excellent Old One Eye conversion though, just saying.


Well, that was a journey.  Thanks for being here with me on it.   Thanks as always for reading, be sure to check out TFG Radio’s annual Hateku contest, and go get those games in. I’ll be back next week with the really big bugs.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

  • Next Week's Warhammer 40K Products & Pricing CONFIRMED