Thursday, May 3, 2018

Consulting a List Doctor: Competitive List Building - Evan's Tyranids 1.5

As I mentioned in my last post, I reached out to Nick and Matt at the Brown Magic for some List Doctor assistance. I opted to have them each construct a list from scratch, given nothing other than the Warzone: Atomic Empire packet and my desire that they be Tyranid lists, bringing in GSC and Guard if desired.

First off, I was very impressed with the turnaround. Nick and Matt both got me their lists the same day, in about eight hours. I know they have gotten backed up of late with a lot of requests after the FAQ, so I'm sure sometimes it takes longer.

The reason I asked for each of them to come up with a list with no constraints was because I felt seeing their ideal Nid list would be more valuable than simply getting tweaks and suggestions on what I had put together. I also felt it would help me weigh my list better and how the wind is blowing in the meta overall.

So, without further ado, here are the lists. First, Nick's:
  • Battalion (Kraken)
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2x2 Devourers (Warlord)
    • Swarmlord
    • 2x 19 Genestealers
    • 30 Hormagaunts
  • Vanguard (Kraken)
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin
    • 2x 6 Hive Guard
    • 3 Venomthropes
The list's strength lies around its ability to wait out opponents if need be, luring them into range to pounce with Stealers while hammering them with Hive Guard shooting.  On the other hand, outside of the Hive Guard and Venoms, the entire list is extremely mobile, with Genestealers having the potential to traverse the board in a single turn with a handful of stratagems (and 6 Command Points). I also really like how streamlined the list is; it reads as being straightforward but it is extremely flexible and hits hard.

Now, for Matt's list:
  • Battalion (Kraken)
    • 2x Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin
    • 17 Genestealers: 4 Acid Maws
    • 2x 3 Rippers
  • Battalion (Kronos)
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin
    • Neurothrope (Warlord)
    • 3x 3 Rippers
    • 6 Hive Guard
  • Spearhead (Jormungandr)
    • Neurothrope
    • 2x 1 Carnifex: 4 Deathspitters, Enhanced Senses, Spore Cysts, Bone Mace Tail
    • 3 Carnifex: 4 Deathspitters, Enhanced Senses, Spore Cysts
Matt's list is a little more diverse, and looks to take advantage of several different Hive Fleets' strengths. It only has a single unit of Hive Guard but makes up for it with 60 S7 shots coming from the Carnifexes, plus having a third flyrant. While my lists have been increasingly short ranged and combat centered, this list keeps the biggest combat punch of the Kraken Stealers, but adds just a bucket of shooting.

I'm too much of a list tinkerer to likely take either of these lists just off the bat, and don't have the straight up collection painted to take either as they stand. For Nick's list, I would need to pick up or borrow 6 more Hive Guard, not to mention finish painting two more I do own, along with 20 Genestealers and two Venomthropes in the next two weeks.

With that in mind, some changes would likely be to drop the Venomthropes in favor of a Malanthrope and then splitting the second unit of Hive Guard to still fill out the Vanguard, or rearrange things to form a different detachment. I would also be tempted to add at least one unit of Meiotic Spores as I've really been enjoying them, particularly in Kraken detachments. After tweaks it might look something like this:
  • Battalion (Kraken)
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin, Adrenal
    • Swarmlord
    • Malanthrope
    • 2x 18 Genestealers
    • 25 Hormagaunts
    • 3 Meiotics
  • Vanguard (Kronos)
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin, Adrenal (Warlord)
    • Pyrovore
    • 6 Hive Guard
    • 3 Hive Guard
    • Biovore
This variant loses a bit of the streamlining and shots while adding some infiltration denial and access to Kronos stratagem and Warlord trait. Model wise it would be a bit ugly as I'd need to borrow models in different paint schemes, which wouldn't evenly divide across Hive Fleets.

It's been done before, borrowing other models, but it was divided by detachment
For Matt's list, I don't have that many Carnifexes or Rippers ready to go, though I do have all the models. The bigger painting hurdle would potentially be denoting the three individual hive fleets.
 
I've generally been pretty against things like squad markings on my Tyranids. While I appreciate how it can help on the table, it goes against my aesthetics for the army. It's also something I feel like would need to change somewhat often, which just makes the painting hurdle before each tournament larger. Ideally I could borrow elements from friends to fill out detachments from different Hive Fleets, but currently none of our group have the full compliments for any one of the detachments in Matt's list.

My tweaks to the list from Matt could be a bit smaller than those for Nick's list, and potentially more focused on available models than anything else, dropping a Carnifex or two for other models that are ready to go, and maybe dropping Rippers for Termagants (again, because I have painted Termagants and not that many Ripper bases done). This leaves me with this variation on the list:
  • Battalion (Kraken)
    • 2x Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin, Adrenal
    • 15 Genestealers: 3 Acid Maws
    • 2x 3 Rippers
    • 20 Gargoyles
    • 3 Meiotic Spores
  • Battalion (Kronos)
    • Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin, Adrenal
    • Neurothrope (Warlord)
    • 3 Rippers
    • 2x 10 Termagants
    • 6 Hive Guard
    • 1 Biovore
  • Spearhead (Jormungandr)
    • Neurothrope
    • 2x 1 Carnifex: 4 Deathspitters, Enhanced Senses, Spore Cysts, Bone Mace Tail
    • Carnifex: 4 Deathspitters, Enhanced Senses, Spore Cysts
This list drops two Carnifexes to free up space for the Gargoyles and Meiotics. I also dropped in a Biovore to be annoying, creating Spore Mines that can use Deepest Shadow. Finally, the list swaps two units of Rippers for Termagants.

Lastly, taking both lists as an input on my prior list, I've come up with this modification, adding Carnifexes and Hive Guard:
  •  Battalion (Kraken)
    • Swarmlord
    • Malanthrope
    • 17 Genestealers: 4 Acid Maws
    • 20 Hormagaunts
    • 3 Rippers
    • 20 Gargoyles
    • 3 Meiotic Spores
    • 2x Carnifex: Bone Mace, Enhanced Senses, Spore Cysts, 2x 2 Deathspitters
  • Battalion (Kraken)
    • 2x Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 Devourers, MRC, Toxin, Adrenal
    • 3x 3 Rippers
    • 6 Hive Guard
With each of my variations, I don't really believe they are necessarily improvements, but add some elements I like to have. Maybe they are a safety blanket (more bodies, Gargoyles, Infiltrating Meiotic Spores), but I do like what they add.

If you've slogged through all five of those lists, I would love some feedback. Lists are due on Sunday and at this point, I'm probably splitting hairs between the small differences (2 carnifexes or a third flyrant; Swarmlord or a Flyrant and third carnifex; more bodies or more monsters, single hive fleet vs sprinkled fleets). Also, again, I highly recommend checking out the Brown Magic and consider having Matt or Nick write you a list, offer advice on an existing list, or sign up for the Premium Members subscription group - which is a great resource to bounce ideas off of and see some great competitive 40k content.