Can Tyranids Compete?

Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about some more extensive play-testing we’ve done on the new Nids!

I have been pretty down on the new Nids, and vocal about it. The book feels so crummy, weak and poorly conceived. However, as we have stated from day one, good players can still make it work if they are dedicated and look for those combos. They also have to play a smart game to have any hope in the current meta. But is that enough? We wanted to find out and I want to be wrong in my Debbie Downer assessment of the book, so we decided to be pro-active and go out and find the winning combos instead of giving up on the Bugs.

I recently issued a challenge to the community at large (something we do a lot at Frontline Gaming for fun). The challenge was: if you can beat me using Nids on camera, you get a prize! However, as I really feel Nids are ultra-weak and wanted to sweaten the deal, I decided to up the ante. I said the Nid challenger could actually pick the army I used! Yup, make me play Orks, Blood Angels, whatever. If you win, you get a box set as a prize. So long as I have access to the army, I will play it. And, even more enticing, if the Nid challenger can beat me playing our studio Taudar army, I will give the Nid player $100 cash, money as a prize! You risk nothing and if you win, you get glory, loot and the joy of watching me eat crow over my Nid-hatin!

Our Taudar army up for raffle at the Las Vegas Open!

So far we’ve had a number of challengers and I will share those videos below as they tell the story. Even with me playing through a bit of ring rust (with the Mega Mats, Las Vegas Open and general admin duties, I’ve been very busy) it is still incredibly difficult for the Nids to fight on anything resembling even ground. They just struggle. But, we have seen that clever players, playing very carefully, can make a game of it. It’s REALLY hard to do, but if you enjoy a challenge, you may enjoy this army. We’ve also seen some skilled players taking down good lists. As always, the player is the biggest determinant in the result of a game. That said, a player that just wants to line up his models and have a fun game will probably be very frustrated with the ‘Ol Bugs.

I think the thing that is most annoying is that you have to play Nids almost the opposite way their fluff depicts them: very conservatively. However, enough of that. Check out the videos and see if you can find any good tips and tricks for playing your Nids and finding the edge you need to compete!

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

42 Responses to “Can Tyranids Compete?”

  1. BBF January 23, 2014 12:25 pm
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    I can kick your ass !

    Just saying …

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 23, 2014 1:21 pm
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      I know karate, bro!

      • DCannon4Life January 23, 2014 2:08 pm
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        …and seven other Japanese words!

      • Black Blow Fly January 23, 2014 5:21 pm
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        You are a Jedi Ninja !!!

  2. Blackmoor January 23, 2014 12:38 pm
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    Everyone was shocked at first when they released the codex because they took all of the tools away that they used to win in 6th edition (Psychic powers/Biomancy, Doom in a Pod, Ymgarl, etc.) and so everyone thought that this was a horrible codex.

    After a while a lot of people are coming back around and saying that it is not that bad, and it is on par with all of the other non-Tau and Eldar 6th edition codexes.

    I think that the big problem is that Tau and Eldar are so good, that everyone thought that the Tyranid codex was going to be that good, or that they can compete with them. The problem is that GW made those codexes so good that that they can’t keep making codexes on that level because it is unsustainable.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 23, 2014 1:14 pm
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      I do not think it is on par with Space Marines. Maybe DA and CSM.

      • Jason Brown January 23, 2014 2:58 pm
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        Fix synapse bubble and now we are talking. 24 inches should be the range. Other than zoans, no synapse creature has in inv or high T.

        • Reecius
          Reecius January 23, 2014 3:37 pm
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          I like that fix. Even just 18″

  3. BBF January 23, 2014 12:48 pm
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    There is no reason why Nidz cannot beat a pure Tau army .

    • Gordy January 23, 2014 12:54 pm
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      Eldar are a big problem, though. I’ve yet to see a nids list that my Eldar wouldn’t roflstomp under normal circumstances.

      • jy2
        jy2 January 23, 2014 1:14 pm
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        What do you run?

        Nids actually matchup better against Eldar than they do Tau IMO. The main reasons are Shadows and also the lack of abundant skyfire in an Eldar army compared to the Tau, who also don’t care about Shadows.

        • Gordy January 23, 2014 1:51 pm
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          Mechdar, and I mainly use it as a competitive army, so the usual Farseer, some Wave Serpents, Forgeworld Hornets, War Walkers, Warp Spiders, Wraithknight, etc. I don’t run a Seer Council, but it’s a mistake to think that Eldar otherwise rely on psychic powers, and even the Seer Council can protect themselves thanks to Hit and Run. I’d been thinking about running a SoloSeer, 3 Wave Serpents with Guardians/DAs, a Jetbike unit, 3 Hornets, 3 War Walkers, Wraithknight, an ~8 Warp Spiders to the LVO, and when I did the math I kill like 5 Carnifex equivalents or ~60 gaunt equivalents with 5+ cover in one round of shooting, all at 36″+ and all on mobile platforms, so I can kite until I run out of board edge for likely 3 full turns before they reach me, best case scenario for them. Their only shooting unit that can even hope to scare me is a Flying Tyrant in the rear arc, and I can just drop them T1. Barring poor dice, I can just table them via shooting by T4. By T2, there’s not much left of his army to even threaten me.

          Granted, unexpected stuff can always happen in games, and good terrain might break up my chances of shooting everything to death fairly quickly, but I’ve yet to see a nids list that had anything I was afraid of.

          And, seriously, Eldar do not need Skyfire. I haven’t done the math, but I’d be more than willing to bet that I could kill 2 Flying Tyrants in one round of shooting even if I don’t Ground them.

          • Gordy January 23, 2014 2:10 pm
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            Yeah, Guided Hornets do almost exactly 3 wounds on average to a Flying Tyrant. Each Serpent does about 0.6. Guided War Walkers do about 1.2. Non-Guided Warp Spiders do about 1 Wound. So I’d be just shy of killing 2 Flying Tyrants in one round of shooting, but that’s ignoring Grounding checks, and I’d cause 6 minimum, with the chance to do 2-3 more from the Solo Farseer and the Wraithknight, and I could also jump out my DA/Guardians if needed, which I would consider since nids don’t generally have enough ranged firepower to threaten them, though I might have to worry about a Mawlock popping up so it’s not a guarantee.

            Anyways, odds are 2 dead Tyrants in one round of shooting. That also depends on if I went first or second, since I might be able to catch them on the ground if I go first.

            So, generally, one round of shooting the crap out of gaunts, and I can pretty easily pop any Venomthropes I get LOS on, then there aren’t likely enough little bugs to really threaten me until late game. One round of shooting at the threatening MCs, namely Flying Tyrants. Then one round of shooting at the rest of the MCs that will likely be running at me. The Wraithknight gets thrown at anything that gets too close, and I’d probably lose it, but it’ll buy me another round of shooting.

        • Black Blow Fly January 23, 2014 5:23 pm
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          Good points Jim !

      • bigpig January 23, 2014 1:39 pm
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        The abundance of high RoF rending weapons is real trouble for all our MCs. I think if I know I’m going to building specific to face eldar its easier than building specifically to face Tau. Tau are really tough, Eldar are just tough 🙂

    • Blackmoor January 23, 2014 1:12 pm
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      All things being equal (player skill etc) Tau should have a large advantage over Tyranids. That is not to say that they can’t win, but they do have an uphill battle.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 23, 2014 1:14 pm
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      There’s a lot of reasons why, actually! haha. It is possible of course, but very difficult.

  4. jy2
    jy2 January 23, 2014 1:17 pm
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    Also, I don’t believe you’ve seen the best Tyranid lists out yet. I am working on a Tyranid list that I think will be very competitive, even against Eldar or Tau. However, I just don’t have the models yet.

    And then we are also getting 3 dataslates in the future. It would be interesting to see what they bring to the bug mix.

  5. iNcontroL January 23, 2014 1:19 pm
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    Yeah 🙁 sigh…

  6. BBF January 23, 2014 1:29 pm
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    Tau has inherent weaknesses that are easy to exploit with any codex. It is not about the match up – it is about the strategy and tactics .

  7. Rob January 23, 2014 1:43 pm
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    Having enough terrain is key. Most players and tournies do not have enough appropriate scenery. ( 5 pieces per table with no LOS blocking piece). Eldar and Tau come down to earth somewhat when they do not play in a field with a few hills. I know Tau ignore cover within 24″ . The biggest problem i see with Tyranids is that their most aggressive parts are needed to prevent the army from running. It will be funny if in a year we are talking about how broken nids are ; )

  8. Alex Yuen January 23, 2014 3:19 pm
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    I think is too early to tell one way or the other. After LVO we might have a better idea. WIth all those LOS pieces that factory FRONTLINE is putting it out there might change many view on how 40k is played.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 23, 2014 3:37 pm
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      I hope so, because we’ve been working long ass hours to make it!

      • Alex Yuen January 23, 2014 3:41 pm
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        I am really hoping not just nids but everything in 40k. Eldar, tau, etc doing so well because well you can shoot at everything you feel like it. with a few LOS that can change how the whole 40k game is played.

        • Reecius
          Reecius January 23, 2014 4:29 pm
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          We hope so, too.

          • Krieg XXIX January 23, 2014 7:07 pm
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            I think Duelcon was a good example how LOS terrain really leveled the playing field and throws off people who are used to playing on “shooting gallery” style boards. Looking forward to LVO!

          • Reecius
            Reecius January 23, 2014 9:11 pm
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            Yeah, 100%. The LoS blocking terrain helps a ton. We look forward to it, too!

    • GV January 23, 2014 7:44 pm
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      One thing’s for sure — between vendor support on terrain and the Frontline Terrain Factory in high-gear — those LVO tables are going to look freakin’ awesome!

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 23, 2014 9:11 pm
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        We like to think so!

  9. Aidobmac January 23, 2014 3:38 pm
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    although the nid book is undoubtedly weak, It has created a surprising occurrence. So far in all of the Tyranid battle reports you guys have done, none of the nid lists are spam based. I know that some of the players in the battle reports are very good players, so im glad to see that in this book, although weak, it promotes variance within the codex. I hope that future books will follow the example of the nid book in how it promotes colorful armies compared to the more spammy codexes of old.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 23, 2014 4:28 pm
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      That is definitely seeing the glass half full, nice!

    • fleetofclaw January 25, 2014 9:58 pm
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      I’m not convinced this is the case. The lists are diverse because people are still feeling the book out. But what do you see in the HQ in most lists? Double Flyrant. What do you see in most elite slots? Z and V thropes. What do you see in troops? Maybe 1 Tervigon and piles of gants. The only real flexibility I see is do you want to rock another FMC or 2 and how hard are you going to max out your Heavy slots and with what. Sometimes you see some gargoyles, maybe the oddball warrior brood or lichtor for Mawlocs, but the core theme is pretty consistent and it just feels like 5e all over again with a somewhat different cast of characters.

  10. FuriousFurball January 23, 2014 6:10 pm
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    Not sure how big the competition for the slots are, … but Pheromone Trail (Deathleaper/Lictor) might be fun with the Mawlock or possibly very accurate Spore Mines. In the case of the Mawlock you, at least, won’t need to worry about scattering onto a model that can survive your two hits.
    But again… not sure what else realy needs those slots.

  11. BeeCee January 23, 2014 10:35 pm
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    I’m noticing les and less Exocrines in lists, are they a trap unit that seems ok on paper but then dealing with that 24″ range they aren’t as hot?

    I am going to try out a couple next weekend as a firebase for my synapse bubble that we all end up being stuck with.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 23, 2014 11:26 pm
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      I am still enjoying them quite a bit.

  12. Tangentical January 24, 2014 12:05 am
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    Dark Eldar players wish Nids were better so we could see more of our favourite enemies!

  13. Mercutioh January 24, 2014 8:16 am
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    I’m excited to see what the Nids can actually do once we get enough experience with them. Lictors with a deepstriking MC list seems abusable(with proper LOS blocking of course.) and with most of the MCs/FMCs that can deep strike they have decent midrange shooting so it’s not just show up and get blown to peices before they get into CC.

    As my freind put it when he went through the book. The ethos of the book wasn’t just to nerf the old, it was to bring more bugs. Big bugs little bugs doesn’t matter Bring more of ’em!

  14. Km January 24, 2014 11:16 am
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    I personally think deepstriking/outflanking/ infiltrating lists will be the future for nids, with as little that requires synapse as possible.. Their problem seems to be closing the distance, so outflanking and infiltrating genestealers, mawlocs, raveners, gargoyles and flyrants should be the future, especially with the taudar in the current meta, as you can use these units to hem them in. Players will have to accept they will take horrendous casualties the first few turns, but once they hit the opoonent’s army it will dissolve.

  15. Nick W. January 24, 2014 12:35 pm
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    What do you guys think about lists designed to hit hard on turn 2 by bringing in a ton of units from reserve? I am toying with the idea of Swarmlord + guard, Tyrant + guard, aegis line with relay, some venthropes, 3 lictors, 3 mawlocs, outflanking genestealers with pinning power broodlords, and some fast attack choices deep striking in. 2+ re-roll for reserves at the top of turn 2, and you start everything that’s on the board behind aegis line + shrouded.

    • Tim B January 24, 2014 1:54 pm
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      Not a bad idea for a list, although I assume that’s not your entire list. I’m actually not a big fan of the fast attack section, given you plan on hitting the enemy all at once. Possibly sacrificial gargoyles. You probably need a synapse on the far side since mawloc leadership is only 8. One trick I’d do with mawlocs is deploy them on turn 1 if going first, to entice the enemy to deploy against them. Then, you simply burrow and auto arrive turn 2 regardless. At the risk of getting seized on, you potentially have drawn him out of position due to the threat. If he ignores them, maybe you don’t burrow after all. I see where you going with the lictors and agree. Since the game though is based off OBJ’s, how do you plan on taking and holding those?

  16. THE General Oadius January 26, 2014 11:57 am
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    With respect, Nids suck my null rod, with respect, respectfully.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 26, 2014 5:50 pm
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      They do. So sad.