Monday, January 13, 2014

Codex: Tyranids - A More Thought Out Review

The Tyranid Codex has now been out for a couple days, and we've had some time to actually read it and think about it and list build. And while I began a little doom and gloom, I am coming around. This is a brand new book - what used to work will not work anymore. That's what we asked for, even though on release we were looking for the same old build to just get better, if we're being honest with ourselves.

At this point, I am confident the power level is still there. Will it unseat Eldar as the tournament kings? Or even Tau and all their allied variations? Probably not. But despite the moaning and groaning that Tyranids will be the weakest 6th edition codex, I don't think that will be the case - I think they will still compete with Daemons and struggle against powerful Eldar and Tau builds, but do well against most of the rest of the field.

Late on Friday night, it was interesting to see the views of people who had read the codex. Most experienced Tyranid players seemed bummed, while I saw several non-tyranid players who picked up the book for one reason or another react with: "they look good, I might start playing bugs."

Having been going through maybe some depression myself, I had to ask myself, "what are they seeing that I'm not." I think it really required taking a step back, forcibly discarding preconceived notions echoing from the 5th Edition Codex, and trying to look at the units with fresh eyes.

After forcing myself to keep looking, a few potential builds started coming to the fore. The first was the swarm, which still relied a little on my 5th edition Tervigon spam mentality. This build would feature 60 termagants and 1-2 broods of 20-30 hormagaunts, with 2 Tervigons to max out troops. The idea would be to then anchor this build with some heavy support MCs (Tyrannofexes and Carnifexes), some buffing Elites (Zoans and Venomthropes), and lead by a Flyrant or two because they're still good and anti-air.

Moving beyond this build, a couple other possibilities became apparent - Monster Mash and Flying Circus. The Monster Mash would go all in on the fact that every force org slot could have Monstrous Creatures, probably keeping small troops to offset the cost of everything else. The Flying Circus would go all in on Crones and Harpies, keeping two flyrants in HQ. By giving the Flyrants and some other MCs (Tyrannofex or Tervigons) thorax swarms with Electroshock Grubs, the army has a lot of Haywire to pass around and deal with vehicles. Even against non-mechanized armies, the Electroshock are still good in that they're S5.

With all of these potential builds, the concern is what balance needs to be taken between the big hitters and troops. In particular, the Troops section is similarly in doubt as to what will work best. Personally, I've began to come to the conclusion that Tervigons may be going the way of the Dodo in my lists. She's still a T6 MC Troop, but coming in at 195 points, and with significantly decreased psychic and physical punch, she's stacking up short compared to other options. Sure she can produce more troops, but it's a gamble. Going straight to Termagants, you can guarantee close to 50 bodies.

Continuing with Troops, I'm also trying to take another look at warriors and genestealers. In a flying circus list complemented with a Tyrannofex, the idea is to get those big bugs in the opponent's face early on, and making these potentially fragile troops less of a priority.

Again, all of this will require more playtesting to hash out. There are some goofy potential ideas that could be fun, like infiltrating a Lictor into a bastion and then running a Venomthrope and Zoanthrope into it. As of now, the Zoanthrope can man a quad gun on the bastion while providing a slightly bigger synapse bubble near the middle of the field.

Without further waffling, here's a list I might start playtesting with at 1,850 competitive level:

Hive Tyrant: Wings, Miasma Cannon, TL Devourers, Electroshock Grubs
Hive Tyrant: Wings, 2 TL Devourers, Electroshock Grubs
30 Termagants: 10 Devourers, 10-20 Spinefists (hooray for free)
25 Hormagaunts
5 Genestealers
3 Warriors: Barbed Strangler, 2 Rending Claws
Tyrannofex: Electroshock Grubs
3 Biovores

The idea with this list will be to get the 5 FMCs in the opponent's face early on. The Genestealers will outflank and stay out of the way for the most part, picking on small troop units or keeping out of the way. The Tyrannofex will lead the gaunt blobs and screen the venomthropes and Warriors. Right now, I'm not sure how several pieces of the list will perform, so it should evolve and change as I find combos I like or things that do better or worse than expected.

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