21 Feb 2014

Tactica Tyranids - Elites Summary

Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! Due to the positive response I have received, I have decided to make these Summary articles a regular fixture for the Tyranid Tactica series. I have collated the "Best Uses" section of each Elites 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 hope you enjoy this article!

Tyranid Elites Summary

Hive Guard

"My ideal use of Hive Guard is simple; hide them in a ruin or behind some form of line of sight blocking terrain, and proceed to unleash volley after volley of Impaler Cannon fire into vehicles, Toughness 4 multiple-wound models and monstrous creatures, in that order. They don't need or want any of the upgrades available to them, and there is almost no reason to ever have them in the open at any point in the game unless they are going to be out of Synapse range otherwise. Moving out to charge a nearby vehicle just in case it survives their shooting isn't out of the question, but I generally recommend against it as it tends to make the Hive Guard an easy target. Toughness 6 is nice, but a 4+ armour save means any typical Tau list will just shred them to pieces with massed missile pods or high yields. With Leadership 7 and the Hunt result, Hive Guard can somewhat safely operate independently, though I still recommend against it. The "decent" results for Hunt will have them moving freely and shooting their Strength 8 guns at whatever is closest. There are very few things that are immune to Strength 8 shooting, and though it might lead to them shooting at 2+ armoured foes that can laugh it off for the most part, it is still a much better deal than most other Tyranid units get. The only thing you really have to worry about is that half of the time, the Hive Guard unit will simply end up being Pinned. It is definitely not something to marginalize though, and as such I do recommend keeping them in Synapse range. Their 24" guns mean they will usually be in Synapse range of something, whether it be a Tervigon, a Zoanthrope or a Flying Hive Tyrant, so this isn't too much of a concern as it would be for the longer-ranged Biovores.

That Hive Guard are so tough with two wounds each and a couple of Strength 5 attacks per model means they aren't exactly easy to dispose of in combat either, able to scare off your typical fast tie-up units. As far as unit size is concerned, with Ballistic Skill 3 each Hive Guard added to a unit will statistically add a single extra hit on average; three Hive Guard, as such, would hit three times on average without any modifiers. Tyranids do not have access to re-rolls to hit or Ballistic Skill bonuses which is a right pain; many have sworn off Hive Guard simply because of that unnecessary Ballistic Skill drop. I think units of two are preferable, giving you a solid and moderately expensive unit that will hit twice with their Impaler Cannons on average. It's not great, but combine them with a Crone firing Tentaclid Missiles or a Heavy Venom Cannon on a Carnifex and they should pretty reliably dispose of an AV11 or lower vehicle each turn. And unlike most anti-tank units, Hive Guard can fire and remain perfectly safe by not exposing themselves. That they fully Ignore Cover means they are devastating to Warriors and Raveners, ironically, though one does need to realize that they aren't the be all-end all counter to Wave Serpents. 24" range with no line of sight required is good, but Wave Serpents tend to sit up the back of the board anyway. Once they do close to start trying to unload scoring units onto objectives, though, your Hive Guard should prove pretty valuable."

You can read more about Hive Guard here.


"With most static gunlines able to hide back behind a no mans land zone and pound Lictors to death if they try to move up, and more aggressive lists able to use their transports to move around or just plow through the Lictors, I'm generally more a fan of deep striking them. They can be hidden on the first turn from weapons like Smart Missile Systems, and they can freely pop up wherever they want as opposed to - usually - 18" away from opponents. You can use their Flesh Hooks to try and get shots on the rear armour of vehicles, or you can pop up adjacent to Pathfinders and Devastators in cover. Arrive in the lower levels of ruins and, depending on the architecture of the structure, such units won't even be able to see the Lictors if they are on the higher levels. If you aren't facing Smart Missile Systems or a static gunline, then Infiltrating is also a good option. This means you don't have to roll for reserves, guaranteeing that they will be on the board when you want them to. Pheromone Trail helps for any deep-striking Trygons, Mawlocs and Trygon Primes you have, with the second in particular loving no scatter on deep strike. Though the 6" range is pretty minimal, a proliferation of cover should make this possible, especially if your opponent is moving their foot-slogging infantry forward. Baiting by sitting on an objective with the threat of a Mawloc arriving to support the Lictors can dissuade opponents from attempting to take it if the Lictors are well hidden and cannot be shot at until the opposing unit is in close proximity. But really, the lack of deep-striking units in the Tyranid army makes Lictors suited to a disruption role first and foremost, and for this, Infiltrating near to plotted advances by fragile transports or heavy ranged units with a short range is a good and simple use for them. Deep Striking with no scatter allows you to pop up near whatever unit you want and using whatever cover or blocking terrain you want. Ruins and buildings are your best bet with their higher cover saves and solid walls."

You can read more about Lictors here.


"In a standard competitive Tyranid army list, featuring Flying Hive Tyrants as the main Synapse units, I do really like Zoanthropes as the backfield and midfield Synapse generators for a number of reasons. Their 3+ invulnerable save means they can more safely sit at long range not worry about cover-ignoring high Strength weaponry, and it also protects them from attacks by monstrous creatures such as Wraithknights. They are tall models but are still easily hidden out of sight by buildings and ruins, and as pyskers they can reliably boost their Synapse range to 18". Warp Lance gives them a very effective defensive tool, able to deliver a number of Strength 5 AP3 small blasts to eviscerate minor medium to semi-elite infantry, or Strength 10 AP2 lances that can punch a hole in any vehicle in the game. This utility means they can defend themselves at range, though they ideally want to be sitting back out of the typical 24" ranged bubble for small arms fire that other armies generate. This is because as nice as a 3+ invulnerable save is, Toughness 4 with two wounds each makes them surprisingly vulnerable to pulse rifle and bolter fire. To counter this, many players are taking a Bastion as their Fortification choice for Tyranids and either deploying the Zoanthrope in it at the edge of their deployment zone, or deploying it a bit further forward with the Zoanthrope stationed just behind it to move in during the first turn. The Bastion is a building, meaning the Zoanthrope can embark and hide from all ranged attacks; damage results on the building do cause wounds, but the Zoanthrope has a 3+ invulnerable save. The Synapse bubble of the Zoanthrope spreads from every part of the building, and is one of the safest and guaranteed methods of protecting any Synapse creature. Regardless of how you play it, the Zoanthrope is an ideal support unit that can default to Dominion as needed for its second psychic power. Keep it behind your lines and try to hide it; don't worry about getting cover saves as its 3+ invulnerable save more than compensates."

You can read more about Zoanthropes here.


"I feel the best application of Venomthropes is in a list supporting primarily Carnifex and Termagant broods just for the sheer ridiculousness of giving so many cheap bodies 5+ cover saves in the open, and 3+ or better cover saves once in terrain - which both broods basically negate. These units aren't too fast to outrun your Venomthrope bubble without compromising their own chances of reaching combat or an effective range for their guns, but nor are they plodding and expensive. The more models that you provide Shrouded to, the more valuable it becomes as the more models you can potentially rescue with cover saves. Keep a Carnifex brood in front of about two Venomthropes to block all sight to them, with two or more well-spaced Termagant broods on both the flanks and slightly in front of the Carnifexes. Give the monsters twin-linked brain leech devourers for maximum pain at 18", making them deadly hard to shift while dealing incredible amounts of damage. Realistically, though, any combination of units that moves about an average of 9" to 10" a turn is a good fit for Venomthropes; any faster will probably get out of range of their Shrouded bubble, or is just wasting points by not making the most of their speed. Hormagaunts are still quite ridiculous with easy cover saves, but keeping the Venomthropes within range can be tricky unless you sacrifice the Bounding Leap advantage Hormagaunts have over Termagants. Tyrannofexes in particular though are absolutely ridiculous with Shrouded, making for easily the toughest unit in the codex by the length of the straight. Their average 20" range with the Acid Spray also suits Venomthropes who don't particularly want to get within close combat range as they are a weak melee unit and more fragile in combat than they are against most shooting. I like the use of Venomthropes in a building, like the cheap purchase of a Bastion for a guaranteed building, but I honestly prefer Zoanthropes there because the Synapse bubble can make or break Tyranid armies. Extra defensive boosts are obviously nice, but having units fail Instinctive Behaviour tests can actively lose a Tyranid player the game, so I feel protecting and boosting your Synapse is a priority."

You can read more about Venomthropes here.


"I see the Haruspex primarily as an additional monster in a "Nidzilla" - short for monstrous creature spam - list where it won't be the only, or one of few, big bug(s) on the table. As it does lack the mobility, Deep Strike capability or durability of the other melee-oriented monstrous creatures in the codex, the Haruspex really demands a lot of target saturation in your list to survive. Where a Hive Tyrant on foot gets by with its Tyrant Guard bodyguards, a Haruspex has to contend with being a monster - and one that lacks Synapse at that, not that it should matter too much - with no way to really guarantee getting to the opponents' lines. It has less durability than a Trygon and no ability to Deep Strike, and it is in no way faster than any other ground monstrous creature. You need to have other aggressive monsters to take the heat off the Haruspex that, to be perfectly honest, isn't a major threat in combat anyway. Tyrannofexes, Carnifexes and Exocrines are perfect for this, and compliment the Haruspex well. Where those tend to sit just outside of charge ranges to chew through opposing units with shooting, the Haruspex can close with Hormagaunt broods and other assault units to tie up and destroy any stragglers. Give your Haruspexes Adrenal Glands, and run either one or two of them. Unlike other units, the Haruspex is more just a fire sink for your opponent and thus you don't need to worry about unit redundancy with two units. You can get away with just one, especially as taking a brood of Venomthropes and one or more Zoanthropes is always a recommendation of mine. Keep Hormagaunt broods in front of the Haruspex to provide it moving cover, and make sure to give it Adrenal Glands so it doesn't get left behind. Support it with Synapse creatures as necessary so it doesn't potentially forfeit its Run moves."

You can read more about Haruspexes here.


"There's only one legitimate way to use Pyrovores in the new codex. Sit them behind some kind of terrain in Synapse range of a Zoanthrope so that they don't eat themselves, and near another typical backfield unit - such as Warriors that also eliminate the need for a Zoanthrope - like Biovores for them to guard. When enemies close in, jump the Pyrovores out and unleash two heavy flamers. From there, hope they get charged so that they can do some Overwatch with their heavy flamers. No, really. Did you expect anything else? I guess you can put them behind an Aegis Defence Line and man a Quad Gun with their mediocre Ballistic Skill and decent defensive abilities, but that is really about the extent of effective usage for these poor sods."

You can read more about Pyrovores 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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