Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An interesting notice on USR

Hello everyone

 Recently, I acquired a copy of the small BRB of the Dark Vengeance set, which, combined with the boredom of the exam season, gave me a good excuse to read again the new rules, more carefully this time.

 My first notice is about the Universal Special rules.

 In the Independent Character section, it says that " When an independent character joins a unit it might have different special rules from that unit" and those rules can be conferred to that unit ( and vice-versa ) only when specified by the special rules entry.

 At first, I was not impressed by this fact. My impression was that, more or less, only Fearless, Preferred enemy and the likes could be transferred to (and from) characters who join units. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that things are a bit different.

 So, here is a list of the 21(!) rules that follow the aforementioned fashion:

1. Adamantuim Will
2. Acute Senses
3. And They Shall Know no Fear
4. Counter Attack
6. Fearless
7. Hit & Run
8. Infiltrate
9 Monster Hunter
10. Move through Cover
11.Night Vision
13. Scout
16. Skilled Rider
17. Slow and Purposeful
18. Split Fire
19. Stubborn
20. Tank Hunters
21. Zealot

  I think it is interesting how many rules share this flexibility. That's all for today, thank you for your time.

 Stefanos Kapetanakis, out.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tyranids in 6th Edition: the Swarm Ascendant!

This is the 3rd and final part of the Tyranid Tactica Guide. Enjoy:


Now that genestealers have lost their glamour, and getting into combat has become much, much harder and much less rewarding, hormagants have stepped up their performance as affordable , expendable melee units.
 They only cost 6 points per model and deliver 3 attacks when charging. Having tervigons buffing them with FNP and fearless, and now you have a swarm that can prove itself a real frustration for your opponent.
 The real downside is that they are no longer getting any true bonus from their fleet rule, meaning that they are extremely slow and will probably take several turns of shooting before reaching the enemy.


 Termagants have always been popular, and an almost mandatory option for the Tyranids.  If not for anything else , a unit of those guys would be included, to accompany a troop Tervigon. And while they are rather weak, and can do little damage without the assistance of larger beasts, they are not to be underestimated.

First of all, when compared to hormagants, termagants are overall a better option,  for the following reasons:

-          Termagants are cheaper, and move at the same speed as hormagants.
-          They have a shooting weapon ( very important )
-          They can be upgraded to carry better weapons and fill more roles .

In fact, while most players include termagants armed with fleshborers, a new, popular option is to arm 20 gants with devourers and put them in a spore.
 This combo provides 60 str4 shots at point blank. However, I am not too fond of this tactic , because of its tremendous cost. 10 points for a termagant is insane , especially considering how fast they die. For 10 points you could take 2 gants instead, and while the amount of firepower is still reduced, you double your models count.  I can’t tell for sure which option is the most successful , but I when it comes to tyranids  I would always choose quantity over quality.


By far my favorite tyranid unit , and perhaps one of my favorite creatures , period. Raveners were always considered to be “ target practice units” for IG artillery and GK Psyflemen alike…and although this very painfully true,  I was always getting the impression that raveners performed  very well for me.  So ,let’s see their best  characteristics, under the scope of 6th edition:

-          -They cost only 35 points without any upgrades.
-         -3 wounds and 5 attacks on the charge, get to re-roll to hit rolls of 1’s.
-          - Beasts , which means that they move 12” and get to reroll their assault move roll, which in essence means that they get a charge move of 8-10 inches , statistically.

This makes their role quite obvious: they are the hunters of the swarm. Their role is to reach the enemy as fast as possible , becoming the center of attention and providing adequate time for the rest of the swarm to move up.
 Nowadays it is easier than ever to deal with raveners, thus making them a choice that you should rarely consider , but one that should definitely be in the back of your mind.

  These guys perform in a similar way to Hormagants, although they seem to be better suited for the role of expendable assault unit.
 First of all , they are definitely faster than Hormagants.  They also carry fleshborers, which is an important detail, and finally they can use the Hammer of Wrath rule, and all that for the same point cost as a Hormagant.
 In fact, the only case where Hormas should be chosen instead of Gargoyles, is when you need more troops, which is rarely a problem for Tyranids anyway.
 Gargoyles can perform well in close combat. However, as  is the case with all of our  smaller creatures, they die very, very easily, thus making them unreliable , at best.


These ugly creatures have become very popular recently. I see them in most tournament lists, and while I was puzzled at first, I finally understood why  they are so attractive.
 First of all , they are very cheap. For 45 points you get a guy with a large blast weapon that will do some damage against light infantry. And they reside in the Heavy Support section, so they get to compete with some “ titans “ of the 40k metagame, such as the Mawloc, the depressed Carnifex and the almost suicidal Tyranofex. Yeap, actually Biovores are somewhat useful after all.
 They come in a nice brood of 3, have a 48” assault , barrage, large blast weapon with a str and ap of 4… not bad for 45 points. And if they miss they target, their shot is not lost, but a unit of 3 spore mines appears…hopefully they enemy won’t escape their damage anyway.
Considering how many players choose to spam troops nowadays, biovores will probably do enough work to justify their points cost almost every time.


 The last unit of this list , and probably one of the least effective anyway. Trygons are durable, leathal, fast moving units that could be easily be one of the best units of our codex. However,  as they stand now, they are still burdened by the same weaknesses they had since their release.  They have to deploy right in the face of the enemy, only to die fast to their low- ap weapons. Plasmas , meltas and lascannons cut through their flesh like a hot knife through butter, and even their 6 wounds and toughness can’t prolong their existence enough to allow them to reach the enemy and do their job. Unlike other suicide units , like genestealers,  raveners or Ymgarls , the Trygon is too expensive to fulfill that role. Besides, Trygons are of no use against flyers and he Overwatch rule is more painful to them that it is for most other units.  A great shame, because  its rules, concept and miniature model are all beautiful.

 That concludes my list of the best Tyranid units in 6th edition. However, no guide is complete without an explanation of how the various units of our codex work.  The rest of this article will be a short tactica of an exemplary list.

 To begin with , let’s see how a Tyranid tournament list looks like:

Hive Tyrant with Wings, 2 sets of Twin-linked Devourers ( BW), Leech Essence, Paroxysm , Old Adversary- 285pts
Hive Tyrant with Wings, 2 sets of Twin-linked Devourers ( BW), Leech Essence, Paroxysm,- 260pts

Hive Guards x 2- 100pts
Hive Guards x 2-100pts
Zoanthropes x 3-180 pts

Tervigon with Cluster Spines , Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst, Dominion – 195
Tervigon with Cluster Spines , Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst, Dominion – 195
Tervigon with Cluster Spines , Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst, Dominion – 195
Termagants x 10- 50pts
Termagants x 10- 50pts
Termagants x 10-50pts

Heavy Support
Biovores x 2 – 90pts

TOTAL : 1750pts

This is a list composed exclusively of the best Tyranid units only. It is obviously meant for  a more defensive type of play. It is a solid list that is built with an emphasis on the shooting aspect of the game , and resilience.

 First of all, it has 2 Flyrants , which should be enough to wreak havoc to the enemy lines, draw the majority of the enemy’s firepower on them, and generally attempt to kill as many enemy units as possible before dying.

 I have included 4 hive guards in 2 separate units.  Their role is to focus on the enemy transports and light vehicles first,  then move onto flyers and possibly heavy infantry ,susceptible to Instant Death.

 3 Tervigons are more than enough to survive the game. In fact,  if you lose all 3 of them in a game, it probably means that you should reconsider your tactics and army list altogether.

Also, 3 Tervigons will provide a mass of extra troops, so make sure to have a stock of about 75 termagants ( from my experience, I ‘ve found out that there should be about 25 spare gants in your army case for each Tervigon on the table )

 Biovores are there to deal with those pesky players who gather their troops behind Aegis defence lines
 Although each separate unit in the list is quite decent on its own , the true power of this list is that it can spam troop units that can flood the gaming board, claim objectives, and finally, attempt to deal as much damage as possible to the enemy units.  The 3 tervigons alongside the termagants and the elite shooting arsenal make a good core for your force that can prove itself very resilient. Do not play aggressively with this list. Instead, try to use the Mission rules to your advantage. This list excels in missions where several  objectives are included, and can easily give you more victory points by claiming the First Blood and Linebreaker. 

 In addition to the aforementioned advantages of this list, we should include the amount of troop units that can be spawned from such a list. When played correctly, this list should make it throughout the game, with a rather small amount of casualties. Make sure to spawn often, but not too often. Units spawned from Tervigons are really worth it when they will deploy near the enemy, then shoot and assault in the same turn. Avoid spawning from the 1st turn. It's a needless risk. 

 Instead, in your first couple turns of the game you should focus on killing the most dangerous enemy units, isolated small units and possibly those annoying Quad guns and Icarus lascannons. If possible , try to take down those emplaced weapons in the 1st turn , so that the enemy will have little chance to hurt the Flyrants.

 Then, make sure to move in close to the enemy with the whole army, if you see that your enemy outshoots you too much.
 In most cases, however, a more defensive approach should be better, until of course your Flyrants start diving into combat. In other words, supposing that the Tyrants will start assaulting units at the 3rd turn and after, you should calculate your movement phases so that your tervigons will be in a possition to provide termagants that will support the Flyrants, backing them up with numbers so that they wont be all by their own.

Finally , lets not forget about the presence of Psykers in this army list. 8 Psykers are included, giving you access to an incredible amount of bonuses that are much needed by your units. In most cases, you should choose to take psychic powers from the main rulebook, especially for the Flyrants.  For Tervigons , it is not necessary to risk, simply because Catalyst is still an awesome power. For Zoanthropes, the choice depends on your enemy list.

And so, after about 12 Word pages and 5.000 words on Tyranids, their codex, their pros and cons etc, I think that there is not much left to say about Tyranids. I hope that you found this guide informative, understandable and enjoyable to read, and perhaps you found some ideas for your own lists.
 All things considered, Tyranids are not a bad army on its own.  Surprisingly, they perform much better than many other codices, which is impressive, taking into consideration the fact that we lack so many things compared to other armies. Tyranids are a mid- tier army, that can still be used in tournament play, albeit with  lots of luck and good match- ups 
 I would love to read your opinion about our codex, your ideas and tactics. Any comment and criticism about this guide is both desired and appreciated. 

  Thank you,
Stefanos Kapetanakis, out.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tyranids in 6th Edition: Rebirth of the Swarm?

 Hello ladies and gentlemen,

Yesterday’s post about the Tyranids and their performance in 6th edition  was not perceived well by many people who claimed that I was either too pessimistic , absolute or just wrong about my view of the tyranid codex.
 Admittedly, the first part of this article was a bit harsh,  so , this second part will be dedicated to the strong elements that the Tyranids still maintain. After all , our codex may be far from overpowered , but it has some units and tactics that can fare decently in the new metagame. In this article , the most useful and effective tyranid units will be explained.

Flying Tyrant

  One of the best units ( if not the best ) in the Tyranid codex.  A Tyrant with the Wings biomorph counts as a Flying Monstrous Creature , which gives it a host of new rules and bonuses.
-          Increased movement speed. When in  “ swooping mode” it can move as far as 24” and still fire Its weapons
-          Increased durability. The enemy units can only hit him on rolls of 6,  reducing dramatically the amount of incoming damage  and causing frustration  to your opponent

However , FMC’s have their weaknesses.  Their tendency to fall to the ground every time the enemy manages a hit  is a glaring flaw and automatically makes FMC less effective than Flyers. Whereas a  Flyer can take multiple hits and still cause headache , a FMC would simply fall to the ground and then become easy prey for the rest of the enemy units. Addind insult to injury, the greatest threat of a Flyrant is not the rather small number of enemy anti-vehicle firepower, but rather the massed shots that come from infatry units. Thus, the best way to bring down a FMC is to simply shoot it with bolter/lasgun/ whatever shots from several squads unit it falls to the ground. From that point on it lies naked in front of your heavy weapons and is left to your mercy.

On the other hard , if the Flyrant manages to stay in the air / survive the enemy turn , and get to the right position , then the following carnage will be a most satisfying one.
Finally, he is a psyker that can take 2 powers not only from the Tyranid book, but also from the new rulebook powers.  Biomancy is the obvious choice, with Iron Arm being perhaps the best result a  Flyrant can get.

All in all, the Flyrant provides and all-around effective option, with solid shooting and melee capabilities and  2 psychic powers that could potentially maximize his potential  as a  “sweeper”.
Nonetheless , I would not place all my  trust on a Flyrant alone, as it is almost certain that he will succumb after getting focused by the enemy shooting. 


The classic, powerful , resilient and reliable brood mother of the hive, tervigons seem to have been affected very lightly by the new rules. They still perform as excellent as always and can provide more bodies to the table, support all existing units and dish out some decent damage at the same time.  Their only new tool of the trade is the new Psychic powers, which mean that their supportive talents have new been updated with new possible bonuses.

 Needless to say that Tervigons should always shape the backbone of any Tyranid list. Take as many as you can, filling all the troop choices if possible.  Their build has not chanced much either since the last edition. Always take a second psychic power, as well as both the Adrenal Gland and Toxin Sac biomorphs. For a mere 195 points , the mighty Tervigon still remains a bargain.

Hive Guards

The ultimate in Tyranid ranged warfare,  hive guards are still an awesome option,  and still the only solid anti-vehicle option of our codex.
 Perhaps a lot of people  could claim that hive guards are no longer necessary in a tyranid army list, since the number of vehicles that hit the table has been reduced significantly  ( no more chimera or razorspam for loyalists ) and at the same time, vehicles have become very sensitive  to melee hits.
However, the solid package that a hive guard provides , exceeds the role of a simple, anti- vehicle unit.  First of all, with some FAQ clarifications, hive guards ignore the night fight rules completely, and since night fighting is now a common thing , their utility has increased considerably. Also, they are still a beefy unit that can take some serious punishment before it succumbs to its wounds, and are also dirt cheap.
 Furthermore, they are not so bad at taking out flyers. A unit of 3 guards will probably score a penetrating hit at an 11AV vehicle,  and they also ignore any Jink cover saves.
In conclusion, Hive guards can provide a decent amount of firepower that’s is very likely to withstand the course of the game.  Thus, they are almost guaranteed to do enough work to justify your point investment.


These guys have always been the cause of a great debate, and for a good reason. Until the release of the 6th Zoanthropes had to compete with hive guards for the title of the “ best tyranid anti-tanki unit”. And although they had gotten  the short end of the stick, the new edition brought a new wind of change for these floating  central nervous systems.

 Nowadays, they can serve 2 possible roles:

-          -Their classic role as an excellent killing machine
-          -The role of a buffer/caster

In other words , zoanthropes can now fill a multitude of roles , in a way that few others can. Judging from your opponent’s list , you can now choose either to keep their old warp lance/blast , or take 2 of the new powers. This option alone makes zoanthropes a  juicy choice for most lists. However, always keep in mind that they still remain inferior to hive guards when it comes to anti-vehicle.

Doom of Malantai

Yet another unit that  has seen both a rapid increase and decrease in it’s popularity, the DoM once was a standard unit in every tyranid list, but after the release of the FAQ’s ( and the fact that it could no longer affect units embarked in transports ) meant that the uber- thrope was not build to last. Literally. A mind-blowing killing machine that epitomizes the “ glass cannon” philosophy, a single lucky lascannon shot could silence it forever.

 I noticed that most people who go to tournaments with tyranid lists tend to bring the might of the DoM to the table. Perhaps it is because most  players  don’t use many transports anymore. Maybe It’s because that, for 90 points it’s worth to try taking a risk and throw a DoM right in the opponents face 
 The truth is that , nothing really changed towards the best for the Doom, except the army lists of players. It is still risky to deploy the DoM, but now it is a risk worth taking.  I would certainly recommend using it, if you don’t mind sparing an Elite slot for it.

Ymgarl Genestealers

Ah, the elite genestealers.  And with the new rule changes, one of the precious few units that can charge right out of reserves ( the other two units being Vanguard Veterans, and Zagstruk Stormboys, if I am not mistaken ).  Under the current rules, Ymgarls have become the only kind of genestealer that is worth using, and probably the only kind of ‘stealer that will manage to get in melee.
Their ability to deploy in a piece of terrain and then charge in the same turn is invaluable, as it not only offers the ability to reach those units that do most damage in the early stages of the game, but they can also act as suicide units, giving you the change to move closer to the enemy with the rest of the swarm and minimize the number of casualties.
Of course, not all is good for Ymgals. Their point cost is still very steep and will probably be ill-affordable in most lists. Furthermore, they take up Elite slots, which means they have to compete with other, more appealing choices.
 My advice is that Ymgarls should be considered as an option after you include most of the important stuff in your army. For example , if you find out that you have 150 points left, Ymgarls could be just what your list needs.

 That concludes the second part of this guide. Part 3 coming very soon.

Stefanos Kapetanakis, out.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mewtwo Pattern Zoanthropes

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

 The number of posts containing pictures of models are too damn few! Unacceptable! Its time  to post some Xenos.

 So, in this post you can see 2 converted zoanthropes. I was not too fond of the metallic ones because of their tendency to nose dive during the game, resulting in constant damage of the paintjob and in my frustration. Thus, a couple days , a few mg of green stuff and some cutting and gluing later , I came up with these 2 guys:


And some pictures of the finished models:

That's all for now. Thank you for your time, and you like these models please leave a comment. Any C&C are welcome.

Tyranids in 6th Edition: The death of the Hive mind part 1

Greetings , ladies and gentlemen.

Since I don’t  seem to  be in the mood for studying pathology, I guess it’s time to write a few words about the Tyranids and their presence in the 6th.
 Every time I go to a tournament and I chat with my fellow players and team members , I am always asked the same question: “ how do you see Tyranids in the new edition? “
To begin with, I will make it clear that Tyranids nowadays are not a good army. I am very sorry to say that about my beloved swarm , but since the new rules came out, our codex has been struck hard by the nerf bat.  Specifically:


With the new edition , cover saves and FNP are now rolled on a 5+.  Cover save is now easier to get but offers less protection overall, which puts a great dent in the survivability of our units. When it comes to FNP the new rules bring up a rather hot debate about whether or not FNP has improved or not, but  I think that while Tyranids are concerned  the new change is not beneficial to them..  With the old rules , the entire swarm had a nice , 4+ cover save and a 4+ FNP, essentially reducing all incoming ranged damage by 75%. Nowadays, not only has the Cover save become 5+, but also the FNP roll is worse for us.

Comparing the 4+/4+  roll with the 5+/5+ roll we get the following chart:
Out of 100 wounds dealt , we get:
5th edition ( 4+ cover save , 4+ FNP )
100 wounds -> 50 ( 4+= 50% ) -> 25 ( 4+ = 50%) Casualties
6th edition (5+ cover save, 5+ FNP)
100 wounds -> 66 (5+= 33% ) -> 45 (5+ = 33% ) Casualties

Result: with the new rules, Tyranids suffer  approximately 20% more casualties

Still, most people will argue that FNP , with the new rules , protects our Monstrous Creatures from low AP weaponry such as Lascannons and Multi-meltas. This is true indeed, but when you look at the army as a whole, there  is done  more harm than good . 
Also , don’t forget that FNP is still nullified when the enemy shot  deals Instant Death,  which means that T3 models ( termagants and hormagants ) which make up the majority of the Tyranid force still lose their roll when hit by those weapons that would do most damage to them anyway ( namely  battle cannons and other ordnance goodness ).
 So, when it comes to shooting  , from a termagants perspective, FNP is outright worse than it was in the previous edition.   The only true benefit that Termagants got from the new rule is that they are little bit better  in melee fighting against power weapons and the like.


Another big change and one that  affected the tyranids dramatically. With the new reserve rules , units that come from outflank or infiltrate cannot assault in the turn they enter the table. Infiltrators cannot assault in the 1st turn…. Well, allow me to say that I am very disappointed that GW chose to take this path with the new edition, because ,in my opinion, the new reserve rules took away a very and interesting part of the game.  The old reserve rule were making a game which had a surprise factor , and were interesting in so many levels..
 As a tyranid player , you could choose whether to outflank with your genestealers  or deploy them via infiltrate. The was a little “ mind game “ with your opponent where you tried to outplay him by applying pressure before the game had even begun.  The opponent had to deploy in a way that would prevent you from infiltrating too close to assault and also make sure that we would keep a safe distance from outflanking units, and so on.
 For me, this was my favorite part of the game, and was one of the most important rules that our codex was built upon.
 However , in the 6th edition all of this fun is lost. GW considered that their players should not be concerned with clever deployments but should rather spent 20 euros for a stupid wall with a gun and hide their models behind it. Our genestealers are now dead , as there is simply no effective way to use them. They will probably get shot to pieces and their remaining roles are performed better by Hormagaunts anyway.


This is another field where our codex has little presence.  As I have already said in previous posts , flyers are the “ new shit “ of  6th edition.  Every player should gear his list to be effective against them , and every player should some of them. The best 6th edition lists include flyer spam ( Necron flying breakfast anyone? ) and those armies who cant counter them effectively are automatically banished to  the “ low tier” armies list.
 Unfortunately, Tyranids have a big issue with flyers.  First of all, we don’t have any “ flyers” of our own. Our only option of aerial combat are Flying Tyranids , and the Harpies..

 The Flyrants are not bad. They are very costly though, but can bring some decent fire power ( with quad-devourers) and still be effective in close combat. Still, they lack powerful anti-flyer weaponry and it is much easier for your opponent to kill them. All in all , you should always spend those 260 points on a Flyrant, but there can be no comparison between those 260 points that an IG player plays for 2 Vendettas.

Harpies , on the other hand are a joke.  They are expensive , weak and can only do some mediocre damage against infantry.  Forget their name and invest in Flyrants.

So….. yes , Flyers… how do we deal with them as Tyranid players?

Answer- We don’t.  Tyranids don’t have access to Flyers. We don’t have access to Quad- Guns and Icarus Lascannons. We don’t get many twin-linked rolls ( and if we do, we have to play many, many points for them ).  We don’t get divination ( nope , even less chances against flyers ) and we don’t  get allies… So ,  our best bet are lucky shots from the Hive Guards or hoping that a Flyrant may save the day.


This is a part where Tyranids actually got some sort of bonus.  Random charge length is not bad for Tyranids since most of our units have the Fleet rule. Rolling 2 dice , keeping the satisfying one and re-rolling the other? Nice! In essence , we got better in our assault moves.  A minor improvement when compared to the previous edition , but an improvement nonetheless.


There you have it. GW new gift to the Tyranid race, fearless is the best thing that ever happened to tyranids  since we got  the Tyrannofex model.  There is not much to say here , fearless makes gaunts somewhat decent in close combat, but not in a way that can turn the battle in our favor. Instead , combined with the rest of our nerfed special rules , fearless makes sure that if we lose a melee battle , it will slow down the enemy enough for a possible next wave of  termagaunts to finish them. It is a good rule but not a lifesaver.

When all is said and done , Tyranids have become weaker.  As described above , the new rules are not in our favor and the new, shifting metagame makes a hostile environment in which our little beasts can hardly adapt. However ,  in my personal opinion , Tyranids have become ineffective for a much more simple reason:
Tyranids have lost their synergy.

I have explained it in an older post that our current codex is based on the synergy between its many units.  None of our units is an insane killing machine , none of our units has incredible survivability , but instead, the codex suggest a force in which every unit is supported by another unit ,and in turn supports a third. For example,  a tervigon  supports a unit of termagants which in turn provide support for raveners or genestealers , and all 3 units together become effective.

 Unfortunately, this method of playing in our current codex was so hardwired to the 5th edition mechanics  that can do very little now. The new rules simply cannot support our codex and this is why I believe that the Tyranids need a whole new codex.

 If you are a new Tyranid player , I do not wish to disappoint you, but you must know that you picked an army that is really hard to play, and even harder to be played in a way that will satisfy you.  As is the case with Space Marine and Dark Eldar players , our codices are outmatched by others. I certainly hope that GW will do something to balance everything and give a chance to Tyranid players to make a powerful comeback.

Stefanos Kapetanakis, out.