Wednesday, September 10, 2014

List Building: Post NOVA Tyranid Redirection

As I concluded in my NOVA Review, I really wasn't very happy with the list I took. In part I think it didn't fit my playstyle, so wasn't terribly fun. The list also relied on a castle that really wasn't durable or mobile. Finally, while I had anti-armor available, my list was primarily anti-infantry. The games I struggled with were ones where a good portion of the enemy infantry were hanging out in transports, rendering my biovores and Devourer termagants useless.


In addition to struggling a bit against mechanized armies, I also had no real answer for Wraithknights. That's something that really should have been more apparent to me, but I managed to overlook. The list I took really had no plans to use the assault phase, which is primarily where Wraithknights could kick my teeth in. While the shooting phase is still king, the assault phase can still help swing the game.

Since I like list, here is a list of issues or concerns I had with my list:

  • Lack of CC options
  • Lack of answers for Wraithknights and massed transports
  • Lack of Mobility
  • Lack of Durability in passive/backfield units
  • Small, single model units that give away First Blood
Moving forward, I want to make sure my new list can resolve most, if not all of these issues. 

Starting from the top, adding close combat dedicated units is the obvious answer. That said, there is a bit of a delicate balance in terms of how many and how durable they are. Spend too many points on the CC portion and then the army has an issue participating in the shooting phase.


Finding answers for Wraithknights and Transports. In large part, this is addressed by addressing lack of combat, above, and lack of mobility, so let's just skip to that.

In the age of Maelstrom Objectives and progressive scoring, mobility is really important. FMCs don't really count for this since they cannot score when swooping. Outside of them, I had no units that could move quickly to apply pressure on distant objectives, and very little in terms of alternate deployment methods to get forces outside my deployment zone. To address this, I need units that are fast and/or can deploy via deep strike or outflank. 

To address lack of durability in the backfield, I think part of it is to include less in the backfield. Additionally, adding mobility throughout the army helps remove the passive element. Tyranids just do not have options tough enough to hang around and tank from the backfield. Again, this is somewhat resolved by adding mobility and combat units. Those two elements add pressure, meaning backfield units, if present, are less vital and also will be under less pressure themselves. 

Finally, one of the small, but major changes I think I'll make is dropping single Zoanthrope and Venomthrope broods. In the NOVA format, First Blood was de-emphasized, but having these units largely prevented me from being able to choose First Blood and score it myself. In the games I did choose First Blood, it was rather simple for my opponents to snipe out one of these to deny me two points. This was compounded by the fact that these units needed to be on the board from the beginning to fulfill their roles. 

So, with those changes in mind, I've come up with the following list for the NOVA 2014 Format (no FW, single CAD, self ally):
  • Primary CAD:
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 TL Devourers, Electroshock Grubs, Warlord
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 TL Devourers, Electroshock Grubs, 
    • 2 Venomthropes
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
    • 3 Rippers
    • Hive Crone
    • Hive Crone
    • 5 Raveners: 3 Rending Claws
    • 2 Carnifex: Crushing Claws, Adrenal Glands
  • Allied Detachment:
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, Adrenal Glands, the Reaper of Obliterax
    • 5 Genestealers
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
This list drops the backfield elements entirely. It is a lot more fluid and mobile, with no units really planning on hugging a terrain piece in my backfield. This means it's also a lot more aggressive, with a few units having enough speed to apply pressure early. The only unit in the list that needs synapse is the Raveners. These could be replaced by Shrikes, but my concern is their lack of Fleet and Move Through Cover. Additionally, the Raveners will likely be following and be near the Combat Flyrant. 

The Combat Flyrant is expected to alway be gliding and jink if ever targeted, since it will not impact his ability to charge. The Reaper and Adrenal glands bring him to S8 on the charge, and he is an answer to wraithknights, having the speed to chase them down, and then good odds of getting a 6 to wound for an instant death.

The pair of Venomthropes are a bit harder to take down in a single volley, and will be protected moving up the board by the Carnifexes. 

Finally, all the troops units have alternate deployment and are able to skirt the edges and avoid conflict while grabbing objectives. 

The model count is extremely low, which is another goal I had with this list, as I have gotten tired of massed models and transporting and moving close to 100 models for each game. 

Moving forward, looking at events like Forge the Narrative's Seasonal tournament, the army list creation rules are much more open. I also expect next year's NOVA to allow Forge World. With this in mind, I've also been planning a 2,000 point list with a similar theme, using Forge World units and a Double CAD.
  • Primary CAD:
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 TL Devourers, Electroshock Grubs, Warlord
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 TL Devourers, Electroshock Grubs, 
    • Malanthrope
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
    • Hive Crone
    • Hive Crone
    • 5 Raveners: 3 Rending Claws
    • 2 Carnifex: Crushing Claws, Adrenal Glands
  • Allied Detachment:
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, Adrenal Glands, the Reaper of Obliterax, Old Adversary
    • 5 Genestealers
    • 3 Rippers: Deep Strike
    • Harpy
This list simply adds a Harpy, giving another Flying Monstrous Creature to create headaches and also add some anti-infantry. Some variants to the list I've considered are dropping the Raveners and Genestealers for a fourth flyrant, kitted out with Devourers and Electroshock, or dropping the Harpy and one Ripper group for 3 Hive Guard to help handle transports. 


These lists likely sway a bit too far toward the combat elements and low model count is a concern, but for now it seems fun and different. What do you think of the lists? What would you change, drop, or add?