Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Codex Tyranids: The Sky is Falling and I Like It

The title sums it up to some degree. The hate for Codex: Tyranids continues to rain down, and I couldn't be happier about it. Call me overly optimistic, call me deluded, but I am generally positive about the direction my Tyranids are going. Now, am I totally happy with the book? No. Hell no. In fact, I can fall off that ledge and go through and list every unnecessary and overly-harsh nerf, every missed opportunity, and every strange, limiting, and detrimental rule and change or lack thereof in the new Tyranid book. Overall, I think it was a pretty piss-poor effort for a "new" codex.


But if there's one thing I am, it's stubborn. And so, while I see so many people around me embrace and spread the hate and vitriol for how unusable the new Tyranid book is, I got to work. I think this goes for all the guys on our blog.

While I see a lot of defenses of the book offering platitudes, I feel like we're doing a good job of offering concrete details, experiences, and lists, and hope to continue to do so. While like many we trashed the Tervigon as being too expensive now, and with too hefty a tax while losing her offensive output, we've come around and embraced the mini-horde.

A blob of 30 Termagants spread across several feet of board can be surprisingly tough to shift. Certainly, it's not impossible. The internet counter argument seems to be that it's a simple matter of killing off the synapse keeping them there. But that falls into the same fallacy of all theory-hammer arguments - they exist in a vacuum and you can always bring out a bigger hammer.

Yes, you can kill the synapse, or at least try, but it's not going to be standing out in an open field smelling the clovers. Some of it will be in your face, demanding attention. Others will be lurking and out of range, line of sight, or just generally, looking like the little girl in a dark street full of monsters (MIB anyone?). And even then, in my 1,850 list, most of my Synapse is T6. Can it be killed? Of course. Can it be killed in time and all at once? That's the question, and not nearly as simple a proposition.

Last weekend was the first major event with the new Tyranids playing a role - the LVO, run by the lead reluctant-nid-hater himself, Reece Robbins. In that event, everyone was surprised to see how well the nids fared. In fact, by win percentage, 6th Edition Nids were the best 6th ed codex after Tau and Eldar. So early results indicate the new book is viable and can be good. It seems like people are disappointed it didn't come in and eat Eldar and Tau, but why do people want that? I didn't realize how many people in our community were the woman who swallowed a fly.

Anyway, back to me being stubborn. The day the codex came out, I was actually playing with 5th Edition rules to prepare for the SCARAB GT the following week. For a prep game, Ron took my Taudar list and gave me a good test. While I won the game (barely) I ended it staring at my Tau and Eldar models thinking about how much fun they were, how much I was looking forward to painting more of them, and how sick I was of dealing with Tyranids. And I announced this loudly - I was considering taking a break from Tyranids.

That night, I had a bit of a self-revelation moment. I was tired of the 5th edition book, and dismissing the 6th edition book because it wasn't my 5th edition book with a cherry on top. Why was I mourning that? I hated using that book by the end. Sure, on the surface the changes were minor, but my proposed 6th edition lists at the time were simply slight variations on a 5th edition theme.

You can make the argument that my more settled lists are only a slight variation on the 5th edition net list, but I am excited about playing it, which is a big difference. With the 5th Ed book, I dragged my feet on getting a second tervigon. Now, for some reason I'm readily accepting 2, even though it means I will need around 100 termagants (assembly line painting posts to come). It just adds to the 6 other MCs I will be fielding.

I also love the idea of a challenge. I feel like, coming in to the book well after it's release, the 5th ed book was already "solved." People had squeezed the maximum use out of it they could, and picking that up wasn't rewarding. Now I have a chance to prove that the army is viable, and that I can come up with viable builds and use units effectively. This is a draw that obviously Eldar and Tau can't hold. Call me a masochist, but I need a challenge to stay engaged.

I like the challenge presented by the new book. I'm also not crazy enough to think I can make something brilliant out of nothing - I think there are viable and strong builds available, but many people haven't seen them work yet and are being dismissive. Will Tyranids win a majority of events this year? No. Will they win any major events? I think they can, piloted by a good general (aka, someone better than myself). Tyranids will hold their own and make the top tables from time to time.