31 Jan 2014

Tactica Tyranids - HQ Summary

Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! With the sheer breadth of this Tactica series where each unit has its own independent article, I realized that fresh viewers would likely have trouble sifting through all of the unique articles. To this end, I have collated the "Best Uses" section of each HQ review so far into this one article to give a general sense of how to use each unit. Additionally, I have included links to each individual article under each of these "Best Uses" sections so that you can easily expand the available information on the unit you are interested in! I have also fully updated the Tactica Portal so that the articles can be easily found for further viewing, as well as the structuring of future articles. Please, let me know if you like this format, as I appreciate any and all feedback! I hope you enjoy this article!

Tyranid HQ Summary

The Swarmlord

"Despite the Swarmlord lacking increasing mobility over regular foot monstrous creatures, I think it nonetheless belongs in a fast assault army variant first and foremost. This is not only because it can freely give Preferred Enemy to a close-ranged Exocrine, or Furious Charge to a Hormagaunt brood that saves a lot of points on Adrenal Glands, but as it also grants a reserve bonus that is most useful for Mawlocs. These units are at home in a sheer target-overload list that rushes the opponent for the first turn or two until its guns and claws get into range to begin the feast. The Swarmlord should be using these units as both cover and tarpits to protect itself from unwanted threats, like Terminators or Plague Zombie blobs. It can them aim for varying units, even separating from its Tyrant Guard just before declaring charges as both the Swarmlord and a pair of Tyrant Guard can each mop up minimal or weak scoring units with ease. The Swarmlord can be used as a character assassin, but you are generally better off using it to crush particularly nasty units that your Hormagaunts and Termagants have tied up in combat. If you want to engage a unit that sports a particularly nasty melee character or a high Initiative force weapon, be sure to employ a Harpy - they are a cheap investment, after all - so that the Swarmlord can devour it before it strikes.

To make the most of its psychic potential, I recommend taking Dominion in most games so that you can keep up an almost permanent 24" Synapse bubble, eliminating the need for expensive items such as the Norn Crown on another 'commander' model. Catalyst, Onslaught, Paroxysm and the Horror are all really strong powers for the Swarmlord, and combining the Horror with Shadow in the Warp to pin down psyker units like Grey Knight Strike Squads and Seer Councils that (strangely) lack the Shard of Anaris is awesome. Ideally, you want three of those four powers in any combination, with Dominion thrown in if one of the powers won't be so useful; for example, the Horror taken against an Iyanden Wraith list won't do much of anything. Warp Lance is definitely a decent shooting attack for the Swarmlord, but it eats up two of its three warp charges, and generally you just want the Swarmlord to be making run moves to get as close as possible so that it can get outside the torrent of fire. Psychic Scream really won't work for the Swarmlord, and is the one power I always say to swap out; the ubiquity of destroying a Land Raider at range means that Warp Lance has a place, but I would also generally recommend swapping that out for Dominion against the really nasty gunline lists."

You can read more about the Swarmlord here.

Walking Hive Tyrants

"A foot Hive Tyrant belongs in almost any army list, not only because - unlike the Swarmlord - it can take Adrenal Glands and thus have Fleet alongside its Tyrant Guard, but as it has access to long ranged guns. It can form a tough anchor for any Tyranid force, one that both plays hard to get with Slay the Warlord, and is a key Synapse creature that can easily boost its' bubble up to 18". When deployed in a hidden position and moving up with tarpit Termagant or Hormagaunt units to disbar flyers like Heldrakes and Daemon Princes from landing near the Hive Tyrant, this is a unit that can be really effective whether it makes it to assault or not. If the Tyrant Guard die, but the Hive Tyrant survives the game, it will have been worthwhile because that would signify an opponent has dedicated quite a few resources to their destruction. Safeguarding your Warlord victory point is always handy. Use the Hive Tyrant less as a straight offensive unit such as a Tyrannofex and more of a supporter that moves quickly to get into position early on, and from there, directs its swarm through a Synapse bubble and - hopefully - psychic buffs like Catalyst and Onslaught."

You can read more about Walking Hive Tyrants here.

Flying Hive Tyrants

"Much like a walking Hive Tyrant, its flying counter-part is suited to pretty much any army list you can imagine, though its mere inclusion is enough to justify a "flying circus". A flying Hive Tyrant brings Synapse, two very valuable psychic powers and a decently durable warlord choice to a Tyranid force. It is incredibly fast and, depending on the amount of Skyfire weapons in an opponents force, either quite a bit less or almost as durable as a Hive Tyrant with two Tyrant Guard on foot. It can be tailored for melee and ranged warfare - or do a decent mix of both - and has great stats that make it mostly immune to psychic attacks and characteristic tests. It is a great generalist that competes very well with flying monstrous creatures from any army because of its effectiveness and cost, as well as immunity to conventional instant death. When you take a flying Hive Tyrant or two, Crones and Harpies will crow and shriek - respectively - with joy, as sending up to five rather cheap and very damaging flying monsters at any opponent is likely to unnerve them, especially when they take up just over half of a 1500 point army list! They thus make flyer-spam supported by fast assault - namely Hormagaunts, Gargoyles and Mawlocs - lists far more viable with mobile Synapse generators. They work best for any kind of fast Tyranid army as they themselves are the quickest Synapse units in the codex.

The minimum 12" movement doesn't lend itself too well to a slower, Exocrine and Hive Guard themed list even when Dominion is thrown, so those are where the foot Hive Tyrant wins out for the most part. Where the ground Hive Tyrant is the more supportive type, the flying Hive Tyrant is definitely the one for aggressive builds; used smartly with terrain and controlled aggression, a flying Hive Tyrant is a devastating generalist that counters flyers, psykers and ground vehicles better than any other in the codex. In fact, its 24" move coupled with Shadow in the Warp makes it one of the prime counters to psychic-blessing reliant builds for Tyranids, such as dual Farseer Eldar or Screamerstars. I see the best use of the flying Hive Tyrant to be equipped with two brain-leech devourers, as they are the most cost effective weapon option and the biggest threat to vehicles - particularly flyers - and being an aggressive unit that hugs cover and uses its 24" move to hide as much as possible. It is an easy source of First Blood through its twelve Strength 6 shots with an effective range of 42", and is durable enough provided it isn't moved into the line of fire of many enemy units. Try to increase its Synapse bubble through Dominion to benefit your Gargoyles and other flyers if possible, and cast psychic buffs and maledictions as necessary."

You can read more about Flying Hive Tyrants here.

Tyrant Guard

"I'm sold on Tyrant Guard, especially with the points drop, but only when properly attached to a footslogging Hive Tyrant. A winged Hive Tyrant armed with two brain leech devourers really wants to be heading up the field early on to make use of its medium ranged weapons, while a flying Hive Tyrant with a Heavy Venom Cannon or another long ranged weapon may as well just drop the wings. I don't see the Swarmlord as being as valuable as a significantly cheap foot Hive Tyrant armed with a long ranged bio-cannon or two - such as a Stranglethorn Cannon and Miasma Cannon combo - while a melee Hive Tyrant is generally better suited to taking wings. The Tyrant Guard are there to keep the Hive Tyrant alive, not to actually kill stuff, as you always have to expect to lose models when foot-slogging - something only Tyranids know all too well, especially now that we don't have access to Gate of Infinity or Mycetic Spores. This is why I recommend keeping the Tyrant Guard stock, save for Adrenal Glands; they really don't need the extras, so make sure your Hive Tyrant also takes Adrenal Glands if you want the very handy Fleet bonus. Keep to cover, use Hormagaunts and Termagants as mobile tarpits and blockers, use other monsters to interdict and provide cover saves, and don't be afraid to move through terrain as it doesn't really slow the unit down that much."

You can read more about Tyrant Guard here.

Old One Eye

"Old One Eye strikes me as wanting to be a fire magnet, but not exactly having the durability to be a great one. It will smash any vehicle and unit lacking power weapons it comes across into pulp, while many monstrous creatures would be best served trying to avoid it. But, it is still 'only' Toughness 6 with four wounds and a 3+ armour save. A pair of Riptides backed by Markerlight support will make short work of Old One Eye in one round of shooting. A squad or two Dire Avengers firing at their 18" range after or before Battle Focus moves will statistically put the beast down if it lacks a cover save. A volley from two to four grav guns will slaughter the monster of Calth. This is just reality; it is as easy to kill as a Carnifex in one round of shooting, but that is what you can try to exploit. Restrict as much shooting at Old One Eye as possible, and this will allow it to gain its Feel No Pain trait and make use of Regeneration. I would avoid making it a Warlord as it is one of the most easily handled Warlords that Tyranid players have access to, though it is probably the most damaging. Try to keep it backing a swarm of Hormagaunts, using them as cover and moving through terrain if possible. If nearby Synapse creatures are eliminated, Old One Eye's Alpha Leader special rule will come into play until another Synapse creature can move into range. One turn of Leadership 8 for a bunch of units should be just fine for their Instinctive Behaviour tests. From there, aim for the nasty units, or even just ten-strong Tactical Marines and other such bulky scoring units; getting Old One Eye, even unsupported, into such a unit will pretty much confirm its end. It will maul any typical scoring unit, so use that to your advantage to clear objectives - having Old One Eye sit on an objective in the midfield in cover is sure to frighten your opponents!"

You can read more about Old One Eye here.


"Keep the Tervigon bare if you want, or give it both the Miasma Cannon and one of the Thorax Biomorphs. The two template weapons allow it to absolutely shred infantry blobs that can tarpit the lowly Weapon Skill 3, Attacks 3 Tervigon, while its Smash attacks can punch through nearby tanks and skimmers and overpower most walkers. Move the Tervigon up into the midfield, preferably on an objective, and start spawning around turn three or four. Keep to cover and try to set up in a big piece of terrain with walls blocking sight to the Tervigon. Use Dominion in a Synapse-light army list, or use one of the blessings and maledictions to your advantage - never keep Psychic Scream. As it moves up, fire the Miasma Cannon at any bunched up infantry unit in sight if you can, otherwise, just Run into position as quickly as possible. Waiting behind cover to make a last turn objective grab for one that is in the open is also ideal, and something that a Toughness 6, 6 wound monster is pretty darn good at doing, especially if it has those two templates. The Tervigon should use screens of Hormagaunts if nothing else so as to not risk blowing up all the Termagants in your army, though if there is plentiful cover around then screening units won't be necessary. If you are facing the dreaded flying monstrous creatures that can slaughter your poor Tervigon in combat, then bubble-wrapping - surrounding its base with closely spaced models - it with Termagants is ideal, as such armies tend to lack the ranged power to really deal with a Tervigon in shooting. Try to keep a Zoanthrope or other Synapse unit nearby for when the Tervigon likely dies, as it will be a prime target for an opponent and will probably be close to other non-Synapse units. The Tervigon itself shouldn't need too much baby-sitting, but having a wall of Carnifexes or other high pressure units to keep enemies off of its back is preferable."

You can read more about Tervigons here.

Tyranid Prime

"I feel the best application of a Tyranid Prime is to attach to a Carnifex brood armed with dual brain-leech devourers, while the Prime itself wields a Miasma Cannon and little else - none of the other upgrades are really necessary. The Prime confers Synapse to a unit that can kill itself without, a unit that also happens to be one of the deadliest and most expensive in the codex. The Prime gains protection from the Carnifexes, each model having four Toughness 6, 3+ armoured wounds. The Miasma Cannon eliminates the need for a Stranglethorn Cannon or Heavy Venom Cannon on one of the Carnifexes so that their "maximum range" for wounds isn't capped at 18". The Prime gives the three monstrous creatures more potential for wound allocation shenanigans, using its 2+ Look Out Sir roll when attached to the unit to spread the wounds around even more in different phases. It can take a wound or two, then Look Out Sir on to the closest Carnifex. On the next turn, it can swap the positioning of the models around and do the same thing, meaning it will take far more effort on the opponents' end to drop any single model in the unit, thus keeping their damage output at maximum for longer. As the Carnifexes will be heading up the midfield and will typically be supported by Hormagaunt, Termagant or Gargoyle broods, the Prime can use the Carnifexes as a "slingshot" unit to attach to the rear of one of those broods just before they declare a charge. Other good uses of the Prime are to join small to medium broods of Warriors to give them a damage boost with its Alpha Warrior special rule, though I feel Biovores - due to the lack of Synapse creatures with long ranged shooting - and Venomthropes - who otherwise drop too easily to Smart Missile Systems - could use the Tyranid Primes' unique abilities more."

You can read more about Tyranid Primes here.


"Don't take Deathleaper as your Warlord unless you are set on a Vanguard themed Tyranid force. The reason for this is that its Warlord Trait isn't too crash hot - it specifies independent characters, not standard characters, and many independent characters can give it a run for its money - and it is very fragile against certain armies. A unit of three Broadsides within 30" of Deathleaper stand a very strong chance of putting it down in one shooting phase with their twelve twin-linked Strength 5, AP5 shots that ignore both cover and line of sight. A unit of three Hive Guard will average one hit against the Deathleaper and, unless they get incredibly unlucky, end its reign of terror with that lone hit. While Deathleaper is very difficult to kill conventionally, what with it easily able to hide due to Infiltrate, no scatter Deep Striking, hiding in reserve, forcing Snap Shots at it, Hit and Run as well as Weapon Skill 9, you can't afford to let enemies get a hold of it. Massed shots and close combat attacks will put it down in no time; even a single unit of Fire Warriors affected by an Ethereal's extra pulse shot power can do the trick with a bit of luck. While Deathleaper is easier to protect than some other HQ choices - such as a Tervigon - against standard "fire down the line" shooting, like any predator, once it is caught it can fall over very quickly. Besides, Deathleaper is not a Synapse creature, which is not something you really want on a HQ choice especially, doubly so if it is your only HQ choice. Against Tau, mechanized Eldar and other Tyranids, I recommend hiding the Deathleaper in reserves and hiding it in your backfield to penalize the Leadership of important enemy psykers and Ethereals. Against a-typical gunlines and foot-based lists, on the other hand, Deathleaper is a powerful tool in the right hands. Abusing cover and intervening terrain, Deathleaper can pretty safely make it into combat and proceed to take out those heavy weapon team-equivalent units, or hunt fragile independent characters such as Lord Commissars and Sorcerers."

You can read more about the Deathleaper here.

Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.

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