So, I have the book in my greedy little claws! Here be my first impressions on it. As usual caveats apply, this is a first reading and as such I may get some details wrong and my opinions will probably change at least a bit as we learn the book. Also, check out the Tactics Corner for more articles and videos!
As you all know, I love Nids! I have a very large bug army and really enjoy their fluff and play-style. Here are some of my lovely swarm!
Ah yes, fully painted and did me right through the years.
And then I opened the new book….and felt like someone punched me in the nuts.
Almost every, single unit in there got a nerf! Seriously, almost every….single….unit….got nerfed…..in an already low tier army…..WTF?! That was my first reaction as I am looking at it through the lens of what we had. It is sometimes hard to adjust to seeing it as what it now is.
That pretty much sums up my feelings on this release on my first read through. However, I don’t want to start out like that so let’s go in reverse order. It’s better to look at what we have than lament what we’ve lost. I will save my overall opinions for the end. We’ll cover the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on this first read through, and then hit some of the units.
- Chaos doesn’t have to worry about being the most disappointing book in 6th ed, anymore. Yay?
- The fluff and the art are really good. It is a pretty book at the least.
- You won’t need to buy many new things, honestly. If you are a long time Nid player you can put a really solid list on the table with what you have in your collection, now. Some of the new units are solid, but nothing jumps out as me as an auto-include.
- Some old standby units got better! Where most units got kicked in the balls for no apparent reason, some core units improved such as the Flyrant, Termagants, Mawlocs and Biovores all got minor to major improvements. Nice! The Mawloc can randomly kill himself for some inexplicable reason, but overall he improved.
- Some previously crap units got minor to major buffs such as the Carnifex, Veomthrope and Tyrannofex. OK, that is good! Canrifexes especially got a nice boost for the points and I think we will be seeing a lot of them.
- The new units range from OK, to pretty good. Not terrible, not fantastic, but solid looking to me, now. I think the Crone especially, could be good at the price point taken en mass in a Flying Circus list. Although, he and the poor Harpy are the only FMCs that are actually on flying stands which is a big disadvantage to those that are on normal bases, plus they’re REALLY squishy at T5 and a 4+. How they are priced close to the Turkey is a bit of a mystery, but hey.
- A lot of units went down in points which is good in a vacuum. We will talk about why that is deceptive later.
- The Nid psychic powers are largely pretty good. Some are situational or can be rather poor, but in general, they have a useful school of powers. Increasing Synapse is very useful and I see that being a common choice. However, compared to OTHER primaris powers like Guide or Divination which actively buff you, this simply prevents you from suffering negative consequences so it really feels less awesome.
- Catalyst is a great power. Too bad it isn’t the Primaris. FnP to the caster’s unit and one other unit within 12″ is awesome.
- The Horror is good. A pen check at -2. A lot of armies ignore it due to fearless, but against things like Riptides it can save your ass (they are not Fearless). I see this being a surprisingly good power if you can get it off. The only real downside is that it is only 24″ range and is cast at the beginning of the movement phase so a smart player will often stay out of your range.
- Onslaught: Run and then Shoot. Solid on the right unit and things like Carnifexes, Tyrannofexes, Dakkagants, etc. will love it. A Flyrant and Crone will love it, too.
- Paroxysm: -D3 to WS and BS. Really good. It means that often you will hit on 3’s and be hit on 5’s. I think this can be very good for surviving shooting and improving your odds in assault.
- Psychic Scream. This is a good power and if you get it on a few fast units, like Flyrants, you can do some work. Again though, you can’t count on getting it (and you may get it on a support unit or something). Too bad sPods are gone =(
- Warp Blast. Just like it was, but got nerfed a bit. 2 Warp Charge, AP 2 on the lance (although still brutal) and str5, ap3 on the small blast. Not bad at all, but I like this power the least, honestly. Unless you are playing armies where it will really shine, I would pass on it, myself.
- The Warlord table is pretty good. The first result is obviously junk if you don’t have any woods on the table, but the others are solid. Night Vision is cool as most people will be using Flyrants, IMO, and 18″ Synapse is REALLY good now that failing synapse is so brutal. Getting 2 VPs for each IC killed in a challenge is hot, reducing cover is good and getting FnP after taking a wound isn’t the best, but hey, it’s a nice little bonus.
- No more BRB psychic powers. WWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?! By the Emperor, that was one of the only things Nids had going for them! I know some people got upset with Swarmy going toughness 9 or what have you, but how in the blazes do you justify a Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon with armor, invul, FNP, etc. going tough 9 or 10, but not a Tyranid MC that has no invul save and is usually a lot slower? This baffles me. Biomancy, Telekinesis and Telepathy were great powers for Nids and I used all of them all the time and it made the army so much more enjoyable to play. This in my mind is a monumental mistake and totally unnecessary nerf to an army that really, really didn’t need to be nerfed. I hope time proves me wrong on this but I doubt it. I see a lot of folks house ruling Nids to have the BRB powers again.
- The Bio-Artifacts. These are shitty. They are almost universally under-whelming and/or over-priced.
- The Maw-Claws of something-or-other. A rending upgrade that gives you AP5 and gives you preferred enemy for what you just ate. Eh. By the time you make it into combat and kill something, the preferred enemy will be kicking in late in the game. It is pretty cheap though (Melta Gun price) so yeah, maybe. Not terrible but not great. If you are playing a Tyranid Prime for example, might as well take it over normal Rending Claws for only a 5pt difference.
- Norn Crown: extends Synapse by 6″. Nice! Costs as much as a Terminator…doh!
- Miasma Cannon: This one is OK. A bit pricey, but you get a 36″ small blast, AP4, Poison 2+ or a poison 2+, AP4 template. Not bad at all, but for the points and the middling punch it packs, I don’t see it used much.
- Ymgarl Factor: you can get +1 save, armor or strength in assault, and have to change which each round of combat. At the cost of a Terminator, only working in assault, this could have been good but it is way, way too expensive. I’d much rather still have Ymgarls!
- The Reaper of Obliterax: Melee weapon with +1 str, +3 Initiative, Shred, ID on a 6 and AP3. Good stats again, but 5pts over a Termie in cost. Doh! Haha, why? Sheesh. I guess you could make a beefed up Hive Tyrant with this, the Ymgarl Factor and go up to STr 8 in combat with rerolls to wound which is cool, but at a MASSIVE price tag. Still, you could use this to make a flying beatstick if you are willing to pay the price on a T6, 4 wound model.
- A lot of mediocre or bad units got nerfed…..why? This is the part that just blows my mind. I can see no reason at all why some of the units that already sucked, got worse. Rippers for example. They went up in points (2pts less than Scarabs now, who are infinitely better) but still suck. They don’t explode anymore when outside of Synapse but why the hell does that justify a points increase? A T3 model is going to get insta-gibbed with impunity in a meta of Str6-8 spam that we live in now. They’re slow, weak, easy to kill, and non-scoring…..I don’t get it. There is a lot of this in the book, just arbitrary and seemingly irrational nerfs to units that rarely saw the tabletop as it was.
- A lot of shitty units stayed shitty. Especially Genestealers….what used to be one of the scariest assault units in the game, an iconic piece of 40K’s history, of which I have 50 painted….continue to suck a fat one. Ugggghhhhhh. My goodness, this could have been so easily fixed. But nope, no, they continue to suck ass. The only benefit to them I can see–at all–is that adrenal glands went down a point. That unfortunately doesn’t fix the fact that Stealers will get gutted 9 times out of 10 before they ever make it into combat. The Broodlord got nerfed too, less options that are more expensive, and no longer has cool psychic powers but has the Horror which can be good but using Genestealers as a support unit…wtf? Again, what? It doesn’t make sense, they’re meant to be a primary assault unit. We’ll get into more of the other units in later articles but there is a long list of units that stayed crappy.
- A lot of previously good units, got nerfed. Sigh. Why???? Noticing a trend? Seemingly totally irrational game design choices that just keep gutting the bugs’ best stuff and I am clueless as to why. Hive Guard go up in points and lost a point of BS? They were good, but hardly OP before. Good players only ever took 1 unit of them just to pop vehicles and at that task they were good. Not great, just good. Clarifying their gun to just ignore cover was good but the rest of it was so lame and seems to me that the person(s) writing this book seriously have no clue what’s going on with the game.
- And of course the big one: Tervigons. Holy shit, did they got nerfed. Again, they were just good, not great: good. They were seriously fine the way they were, they didn’t–at all–need a nerf. I hope I am wrong and it all becomes clear later, but that is my stance now. And Tyranid Primes going up massively in points….who is writing this? The only IC Synapse Nids have, which mind you is not really a buff but something that stops a bad thing from happening to your army, went up in points for no apparent reason, and actually lost offensive punch in many ways. I am waiting to see how this makes sense.
- A lot of the old Biomorphs that were actually good, like Implant Attack, Armored Shell, etc. are gone. Why?! WHY?! For crying out loud, WHHHHYYY?! What was the possible rationale for this? Maybe with practice I will see that there is a good reason for all of this but as of now, it looks ugly.
- Where-oh-where did Ymgarls, Spore Pods, the Parasite and the Doom go? Some of the best units in the book, gone. Another company makes the models GW never got around to, and so we all just get them yanked. Wow this sucks. Couldn’t we have gotten an “Alien Pea Pod from Space” or something? The Doom was a chief, Ymgarls were actually good in assault, the Parasite was the only Jump Infantry, IC synapse in the book and the Spore Pod added mobility and tactical flexibility to the list. Losing these SUCKS so hard. Ugh.
- So many units that got “cheaper” actually aren’t, or got more expensive as their upgrades went up in cost. Soooo, a nerf and a points increase in many cases. Wow.
- Some of the units’ abilities make no sense. Like the Trygon allowing units to come out of the hole he makes AFTER he arrives. Again, WTF?! Didn’t they learn anything from Lichtors last edition? That doesn’t work with a crap.
- Instinctive behavior became a huge liability. Yes, it can give you a bonus, but it can also cause a unit to destroy itself…..yeah. Your opponent kills your synapse and then laughs. It is more of the wacky, wild randomness that GW seems to think we love….
So what to do?
I honestly don’t know, yet. I want to play a game or two before really passing judgement, but I am really disappointed so far. You can make some good lists I think, probably some really good lists, actually. There are some winners in here, but so much of it is complete junk and disappointing that I seriously feel that this book was written by someone(s) that don’t actually play 40K or that is really out of touch with the game. You read the book and there is almost ZERO excitement. How does the same studio that gave us Eldar, where almost every unit is good and the hardest thing is choosing which awesome unit you will use, also give us this? Did they hand this off to the secretary to write because they were too busy or something? I don’t get it.
Well, we’ll look for the killer combos and good lists as we always do and hopefully there are some things we’re missing. I hope I am wrong on this one and that it is actually going to be a good product. Video bat reps inbound!