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.


  1. While I agree that the Fly-tyrant is a must, I can't believe Gargoyles didn't make a showing on your list along with him!

    Even if you toss toxin sacs on them, they come in very cheaply, and can swoop in in large groups that can screen on the move for their winged boss, back him up in assaults against non-vehicle / high toughness targets when armed with toxin sacs (not to mention their own auto wound special rule AND HoW init 10 attacks...) and run down a fleeing unit for the big guy in his stead, redeploying the aforementioned screen.

    In a 2k list, I chose to run 40 of the little blighters in two broods. And as you noted, they receive overlapping support w/ not only a Fly-tyrant but also 6 shrikes w/ BS+LW/ScTlns to put the fear of the Hive Mind back into play :)They have proven over and over again to be a wonderful swarm to throw at folks.

    Add that all up and throw in the chance that they can be bumped into a scoring unit in certain missions and it's hard not to take them.

    Just take it from me though: Keep the wings separate from the bodies when you go to paint them up... you'll thank me later!

    1. Hello my friend and thank you for your responce.

      I haven't finished my list, Gargoyles will get a full analysis in the upcoming 3rd part!

      And I totally agree with you they are worth their points , but a pain in he *** to paint!

  2. cant dark eldar charge right out of reserves from a webway as well