Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tyranids in 6th Edition: First Impressions

Old School here to share some thoughts on Tyranids in 6th edition based on what I have tried so far. This is by no means an end all be all, simply my take it or leave it summary based on a few games. Here we go:

I have tried several things out with the new edition for the nids and will say that while things have changed, much has stayed the same in my opinion. Our strength still lies in our fearless swarms and our assault prowess. We just have to manage it a little differently nowadays.

I have tried the Psyker spam that many folks have touted, but honestly, it feels cheap. Making a million rolls for psychic powers, writing them down and then putting together a plan based on the results right before the game is cute the first time, but gets old fast. In one game, it just seemed that my tervigons could only roll the most pointless powers. Having 5-man Broodlord pockets to grab more powers is also not my style. At the end of the day, I play some smart opponents and the little broodlord squads had to go away.

Overall, spamming psykers just isn't my style. It really feels like a dumb gimmick.

The other thing I have seen out there is the flying circus. I think everyone has figured out that the harpy is still not great and really struggles against other fliers as well ... the Tyrant is nice and allows you to get him, his guns and his powers down range quickly, but I seem to get shot down right way. The first time I was shot down was from a hit caused by a shuriken pistol and the other from a single bolter hit. In both cases I was murdered when I hit the ground (with one less wound due to the fall to boot).

So, I also am not feeling the flyer gimmick and aside from the occasional flyrant, I plan to leave the FMC business to the pros (daemons).

The genestealers overall are much less effective point for point than they used to. They are better at destroying vehicles, but also are still likely victims for tank explosions. The changes to rapid fire make them easy kills, the changes to assaulting from the outflank have taken away one of the options we have (though nobody else can either) and the random charge combines with the others to make genestealers seem like less of a sure thing. I may try to take one or two big infiltrator groups like I used to and use synapse to make them deadly fearless opponents, but I think their role can be filled elsewhere these days. I love my genestealers though, so I will likely try to keep fitting them into my lists.

The termagaunt has long been a friend of mine these last three years and is still the best friend of Tyranid players everywhere. I like them plain or with devourers. In fact, I like the idea of taking two big devourer squads to open up my tervigons and then just breed the plain ones! I want to be able to lay down firepower and just choke the board with little fearless tarpits. Over time, I may alter it to include more plain termagaunt squads (large numbers), but we will have to see where things go through playtime.

Hive Guard have managed to stay in my lists. I have been running devourer fexes and a devourer tyrant, but for those things S6 can shut down, these guys are great. I will say that I have curbed them back to just a couple squads of two hive guard, rather than the three squads of two or three I once took to war. I have seen a trend in the meta to either bring a bunch of transports or none at all, making these guys sometimes useless in games.

I do want to play around more with Zoanthropes as they can all be a little Doom of Malan'Tai now if they want to! I also like the support they can provide by being a unit of psykers. It doesn't feel as bad to me to roll these guys some powers and see what I get as it did to roll the dice for the whole army, so they will find their turns in the army until I either like them or do away with them.

As far as HQ slots go, I have used the flyrant, the swarmlord and a armored tyrant with devourers and Old Adversary. Of those three, I really liked Swarmlord for the ability to push out abilities and for the number of powers he can take (I like invisible death stars, lol), but the best one so far is the armored tyrant. He can make the best of the wound allocation rules, pumps out great firepower and offers some psychic support.

I have taken a Tyranid Prime in most games as a second HQ and he has been great so far. In my next games I might take out the tyrants and try to use those points elsewhere while I run him with the gaunts.

As you can see, this isn't a deep article as I have only had a few games with the Nids in 6th. I will say that overall, I have felt weaker in this edition than in 5th, but that comes from Fliers putting the hurt on me and from general inexperience. As 5th went on, I got better with my Nids and 6th may prove the same. I will say though that they need to show some of that White Dwarf update love to those few of us who held onto this army because more so than ever, there are gaps opening that are making this army less fun to play in my opinion.

That's it for now. As time goes on, I will likely give you some more updates on my Nids in 6th.


  1. I just hate the random capability mechanics, especially when the abilities are not point balanced. As you point out, when you roll well it feels cheesy (like playing GK? /snark) and when you don't it just isn't as fun, playing with something you didnt 'choose'. Flyrants have always been prohibitively fragile for the points; yes they are more effective for the points in 6th, but no less fragile. Crushed about the stealers too - I've loved them since Rogue Trader days. Someday I will build an old fashioned cult. I think the key for nids in 6th is a couple really big tarpits backed up by whatever flavor MC you prefer: rant, fex, tervigon, or trygon. I do really like the Tervigon in 6th though. Been toying with a 5-momma list that playtests okay, but is a bit monosyllabic. The other fun one is a variant of my old Swarm/PoM list.

    1. Yeah, the flyrant really is fragile and has been since the current book came out. I forget to mention Death leaper. He isn't super awesome, but his special abilities make him pretty nice for gimping some opponents' psykers.

      I think the way forward will loook a lot like what we have been running since the codex dropped. I am looking at Dakkarant, tons of termagaunts and two big mommas, dakkafexen and some biovores.

  2. Since I've been slowly packing my Dark Eldar for a trip, I've "borrowed" my girlfriends abandoned nids from the shelf, and I have to say, I am absolutely floored at how good they can be.

    I built the list to look assault oriented, swarmlord, couple groups of stealers, a tervigon, and gaunts, a single squad of zoathropes; the hidden gem though has been the biovores. With the shift to infantry, combined with the assault looking army, people don't expect the pieplate bomb from across the table. 2 units and a psyker or two with enfeeble just makes an absolute mess of a back line.

    A double dose of enfeeble on termies and some good scatter meant a much higher wound ratio and much less termies in a short amount of time. Swap the Tervigon to cluster spines and even more large blast goodness appears.

    The way the army synergizes with by using the new psychic powers can be really potent, but as you pointed out, some games you just end up with garbage.

  3. I do like the biovores and the high wound rate mixed with barrage sniping can be really nice. I really do want to give them a serious go in 6th.