Sunday, January 20, 2013

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment