BBF brings us a Battle Report: Tyranids vs. Tau

BBF from the Terminus Est blog is here with a Tyranid vs. Tau battle report! As always, check out the Tactics Corner for more detailed bat reps and analysis.

I had a very exciting game yesterday afternoon fielding my Tyranids versus Tau featuring triple Riptides. The Tau player is a veteran so this was an excellent test match for the new Tyranids.



Hive Tyrant:

Wings, Adrenal Glands, Twin Linked Devourers w. Brainleech Ammo

Hive Commander

Alpha Warrior: /Warlord

Maw Claws, Adrenal Glands, Flesh Hooks, Toxin Sacs


3x Warrior:

Adrenal Glands, Flesh Hooks, Rending Claws

2x Deathspitter, Barbed Strangler

13x Genestealer & Broodlord: (attached to Alpha Warrior)

Toxin Sacs

13x Genestealer & Broodlord:

Toxin Sacs

20x Devilgant

Trygon Prime:

Toxin Sacs



Rupture Cannon

Warlord Trait – Night Vision

Psychic Powers:

Flyrant – Catalyst & Warp Blast

Zoanthrope – Catalyst & Warp Blast

It’s After Me! – Deathleaper reduces the Ethereal’s leadership to 7.

Tau (To the best of my recollection)

Ethereal /Warlord


Iridium Suit, Multi-Spectrum System, Control Node, Multi-Tracker

Missile Pod, Fusion Gun

8x Marker Drone (attached to Commander)

12x Fire Warrior

12x Fire Warrior

12x Kroot:

Kroot Hound

12x Kroot:

Kroot Hound


Stim Injector, Early Warning Override

Ion Accelerator, Missile Pods


Stim Injector, Early Warning Override

Ion Accelerator, Missile Pods


Stim Injector, Early Warning Override

Ion Accelerator, Missile Pods

3x Broadside:

2x Railgun, High Yield Missiles, Missile Pods, Velocity Trackers


Commander Longstrike

Railgun, Submunition Rounds

Aegis Defense Line:

Quad Gun

Warlord Trait – Night Fight

MISSION—Emperor’s Will

DEPLOYMENT—Hammer and Anvil

I won both the roll to choose my deployment zone and to go first, opting to go second.


My opponent deployed with Ethereal, Fire Warriors and Hammerhead back in his left corner behind the defense line. Riptides and Broadsides deployed to his left with the suits holing up in a small multi level building. Commander and marker drones deployed centrally.

Infiltrators and Reserves

– One squad of Kroot would infiltrate and the other would outflank.


I deployed the Flyrant, devilgants and Zoanthrope behind a huge line of sight (LoS) building in the right corner along my short table edge. I deployed the Tyrannofex behind a short wall within range of synapse to the Hive Tyrant.

Infiltrators and Reserves

– One genestealer brood would infiltrate and the other brood with Alpha Warrior would outflank.

– Warriors outflank.

– Trygon Prime and Deathleaper both deep strike.


I won the roll and opted for my opponent to deploy first. The Kroot infiltrated 18″ away from my Tyrranofex (on the edge of the big hill in the middle of the battlefield). I then infiltrated my genestealers 12″ away from the Kroot beside the Tyrranofex and behind the wall (out of LoS).

Objective Marker Placement

Tau – Inside the Aegis Defense Line

Tyranids – Behind the huge hill in the middle of the battlefield

I attempted to seize the initiative but failed.

Pre Game Analysis

This game was an excellent opportunity to use Tyranid adaptive tactics in the form of disruption units. The Trygon Prime, outflanking genestealers with the Alpha Warrior and Warriors come in denying as much line of sight as possible, forcing the Tau to use a significant portion of their shooting via Interceptor on the three Riptides. I expect to suffer some losses but if the majority of the broods arrive simultaneously there should be enough left to strike back. These broods will either go after the Fire Warriors or Riptides|Broadsides depending which side of the table they arrive. Tying up and eliminating the Riptides and Broadsides is a big key to winning. The Trygon Prime will go solo hunting the Fire Warriors… It’s risky but could be a real game winner of the monster can pull it off.

The rest of my army must defend my objective marker and act as a deterrent to any Tau units making a play for Line Breaker.

No Night Fight

1st Turn – Tau

The Kroot move up a bit to target the Tyrannofex. The Commander with his marker drones move up to light up the beast but are out of range. Every gun in the Tau army that has range targets the Tyrannofex… When the smoke clears the beast is left standing with three wounds.

1st Turn – Tyranids

The Zoanthrope attempts to cast Catalyst but fails. The Flyrant successfully casts Catalyst on itself and the genestealers.

The Flyrants zooms over behind the wall with the Tyrannofex and genestealers. Genestealers pour out from behind the wall heading straight towards the Kroot.

The Tyrannofex targets the Hammerhead, scoring a pen and a glance. My opponent fails both cover saves and the Hammerhead explodes for First Blood killing a couple Fire Warriors in the ensuing blast.

Genestealers assault the Kroot and wipe out the unit.

2nd Turn – Tau

The outflanking Kroot arrive and come in right beside my devilgants and Zoanthrope. The Commander and his marker drones move forward to light up my genestealers. The Riptides shuffle around to better target the genestealers.

Shooting then commences – the Kroot target the Zoanthrope and drop him. Only the Broodlord manages to survive the rest of the shooting and passes his break check.

2nd Turn – Tyranids

The devilgants are in a precarious situation with no nearby synapse but I roll a 6 for the instinctive behavior (IB) test so they are okay.

In from reserves comes the second brood of genestealer along with the Alpha Warrior, Warriors and the Trygon Prime. The Trygon Primes makes a risky play deep striking into the middle of the Fire Warriors and does not scatter. The two broods both come in right beside two of the Riptides and Broadsides.

My Flyrant successfully casts Catalyst giving himself and the Tyrannofex Feel No Pain. The lone Broodlord successfully casts The Horror on the Broadsides and they fail their pinning check (w00t).

THe Flyrant then glides back over beside the termagants. The genestealers and Warriors come in spread formation to deny enemy LoS using as much cover as possible. Devilgants line up to shoot the Kroot.

The three Riptides use Interceptor dropping roughly one third of the genestealers and one Warrior… Not bad, plus they can’t shoot their next turn… But there is a huge gap (over 6″) in the genestealer line which will make it hard to multi assault two Riptides and the Broadsides my next turn. The quad gun then intercepts the Trygon Prime and drops one wound.

The Tyrannofex targets the Broadsides and manages to pop one and they barely pass their morale check. Devilgants obliterate the Kroot. Genestealers then run to close the gap but only manage a couple inches. Finally the Trygon Prime let’s loose his electrostatic shock attack and drops three Fire Warriors but unfortunately it’s not enough for a break check.

3rd Turn – Tau

The pressure is on now… Tyranids are up in their grill and they can’t shoot most of their guns. The Riptides shuffle back running from the incoming horde… Most of the Tau don’t have LoS or range to my units. The Broadsides snap fire and totally fluff it… However the Fire Warriors manage to drop the Trygon Prime with some markerlight assistance.

3rd Turn – Tyranids

The Deathleaper fails to show.

The Flyrant holds his ground for now while the termagants shuffle back a bit. The lone Broodlord drops back behind the huge hill holding my objective marker. Genestealers move forward back into coherency along with the Warriors, both broods ready to assault. The Tyranid Prime detaches from the genestealers and joins the two remaining Warriors.

The Tyrannofex regenerates a wound then pops two shots into a Riptide dropping one wound from the giant hovering robot.

Big Money Time – I can only assault two Riptides. Genestealers charge the wounded Riptide and the Warriors charge another. Overwatch drops a couple genestealers. Genestealers bring their prey down to one wound… The giant robot lands two wounds in return though and passes its break test. The Tyranid Prime and his two Warriors inflict three unsaved wounds but again the Riptide lands two wounds, splattering both Warriors.

So one engaged Riptide is down to one wound and the other is down to two. Not bad overall but I sure wish I could have multi assaulted those Broadsides. Riptides are very tough.

Mid Game Analysis

I’m currently in a good position… Two Riptides are locked down in melee and the rest of the Tau don’t have range or LoS to my unengaged broods. I’m ahead on First Blood and the lone Broodlord holding my objective marker is safely tucked away behind the big hill for now. The Tyrant is going to have to come out and join the fight… It hurt losing the lone Zoanthrope early on as that was my primary synapse bubble for my backfield. Only a Riptide or the Tau Commander have a chance at taking Line Breaker, so I need to keep an eye on them.

4th Turn – Tau

The Commander and his marker drones flank over to my left and the unengaged Riptide moves forward trying to gain better LoS into my backfield. Tau shooting is uneventful.

I am unable to bring down either Riptide in close combat. One Riptide wounds the Alpha Warrior and the other splats a couple more genestealers. I do manage to bring the other Riptide down to a single wound as well. It would have probably the game right there if I could have killed either one.

4th Turn – Tyranids

Deathleaper comes in automatically from reserve. I make a mistake and place him in the building with the Broadsides… Really dumb move as you’ll see.

The Tyrant zooms out from behind the building landing in terrain and draws a bead on the unengaged Riptide. The Tfex comes forward a bit as well to maintain synapse with the Tyrant… So do the devilgants.

Deathleaper fires his fleshooks into the Broadsides for no wounds. Tfex targets the unengaged Riptide with his Rupture Cannon and also fails to inflict any wounds. The Tyrant first casts Warp Blast, scoring a wound on the unengaged Riptide… He then unloads one Devourer scoring yet another wound.

The remaining genestealers and their Broodlord manage to drag down one Riptide while the Alpha Warrior fails to strike the killing blow and is pulped to death by the angry Riptide—my opponent now has Slay the Warlord. The genestealers consolidate onto the big hill while the victorious Riptide moves forward a bit.

The game is now tied – we both hold our objectives, I have First Blood and my opponent has Slay the Warlord.

5th Turn – Tau

This will be a pivotal turn and lots of things are up for grabs… The game could go either way and the Tau appear to finally have the upper hand.

The Commander and his marker drones get a little aggressive moving deeper into my right flank towards the lone Broodlord (holding my objective). The Riptide with four wounds remaining drops back and the other Riptide (single wound left) moves forward.

Broadside paste the Deathleaper with missileside (no cover and twin linked can do that even when only snap firing). One Riptide focuses on the genestealers but their Broodlord survives intact with full wounds. The other Riptide targets the Tyrant (zooming) and manages to drop two wounds… Tyrant passes his grounding test like a boss. The Commander then fires both his missile pod and fusion blaster at the other Broodlord (holding my objective) but fails to bring him down.

5th Turn – Tyranids

The Tyrant successfully casts Catalyst granting itself FNP along with Tfex.

The Tyrant then abandons the Tfex and devilgants, dropping down into glide mode towards the single wound Riptide. Devilgants go into spread formation moving straight ahead. The intact Broodlord drops back behind the big hill to hold the objective while the single wound Broodlord and Tfex both move straight towards the Commander|marker drones.

The Tfex regenerates another wound then drops a couple marker drones with his big boom stick. The Tyrant elects not to shoot the single wound Riptide and gets ready to charge the giant robot.

First the Tfex attempts to charge the Commander—I roll snake eyes for his charge distance… Overwatch does nothing. The Broodlord then attempts an assault and also fails to reach them… wow. The Tyrant then charges the Riptide, tearing into bits and pieces—he then consolidates into cover.

It’s still anybody’s game. We roll for a sixth turn and it’s on like Donkey Kong !

6th Turn – Tau

The lone Riptide backs up to make sure it’s outside the Tyrant’s charge range while the Commander and his drones skirt back as well.

Both the last Riptide and Broadsides hit the Tyrant with everything they’ve got and the beast manages to survive with only it’s last wound left. Again the Commander is unable to take down the rapidly pursuing Broodlord ! They use their jetpacks for the assault move but roll poorly.

6th Turn – Tyranids

The Tyrant attempts to cast Catalyst and up pops box cars… Dead.

The Tfex passes it’s IB test but the devilgants fail and break.

Both the Tfex and Broodlord chase after the Commander and his drones.

Again the Tfex regenerates back a wound (up to six again) and drops another marker drone with the Rupture Cannon.

The Tfex makes the charge this time but the Broodlord fails yet again. Two drones are smashed to death, the Tau fail to wound the behemoth but pass their break check.

We roll for a seventh final turn and the game ends. We both hold our objectives, I’ve got First Blood… The Tau have both Slay the Warlord and Line Breaker (Commander and drones), so they win by a single point.

Post Game Analysis

I made a few mistakes this game and that is partly due to playing a new codex. The two big mistakes were where I placed the Deathleaper and casting a psychic power with only one wound left on the Tyrant. It was very close at the end and could have gone either way. Even though I lost I felt like my army performed well.


About Reecius

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

39 Responses to “BBF brings us a Battle Report: Tyranids vs. Tau”

  1. DCannon4Life January 24, 2014 11:15 am #

    That’s an astounding amount of LoS terrain–not necessarily the number of pieces, but the size of each of them. Was there ANY cross-table firing lane?

    • BBF January 24, 2014 11:51 am #

      Tau do not need LoS .

      The terrain placed was to emulate events such as NOVA and LVO .

      • krisbot4000 January 24, 2014 1:15 pm #

        Tau do need los..only smart missiles and nova charged ion accelerators can fire without it.

        • Gordy January 24, 2014 2:38 pm #

          Ion accelerators aren’t barrage. They need LOS.

          Regardless, this is closer to the level of terrain that 40k should be played with.

          • krisbot4000 January 24, 2014 3:14 pm

            you are correct sir! it has ordnance on the nova charge profile, for some reason i was thinking it was ordnance barrage.

          • Black Blow Fly January 24, 2014 5:02 pm

            There is a big tunnel in the piece of terrain that was the center hill. That’s why the first genestealer brood got decimated after taking out the Kroot.

  2. Cameron January 24, 2014 11:52 am #

    The Tau player’s decision to take a list with a lot of single shot, high strength, weapons gave the tyranids a better chance in this battle. Only having one missile broadside is tough for Tau against tyranids.

  3. BBF January 24, 2014 12:16 pm #

    Every Broadside in the unit had missiles.

    • krisbot4000 January 24, 2014 1:07 pm #

      He means hi-yield missile pods over railguns.

      • BBF January 24, 2014 1:27 pm #

        It was still quite painful enough.

  4. NIK2286 January 24, 2014 12:49 pm #

    Even NOVA doesn’t use THAT much LoS blocking… Seemed excessive, and Tau only ignore LoS with S5 Ap5 shots. It’s not like they’re dropping those pie plates of doom without seeing something.

    Also, not to discredit your veteran Tau friend, but with 3 riptides, one should’ve been at the LEAST interceptor/sky fire instead of FnP. And probably taken the heavy Burst cannon on ONE of them.

    • BBF January 24, 2014 1:27 pm #

      Okay .

  5. NIK2286 January 24, 2014 12:51 pm #

    Not to harp, but the Buff-mander, I feel, was confused in his load out. Either buff, or provide drone controller and shoot with accurate missles, don’t do both poorly.

    • krisbot4000 January 24, 2014 1:13 pm #

      Yeah. If he’s gonna run a drone controller in a unit of drobes he should be looking at target lock,drone controller, 2 missile pods and maybe a puretide chip.

      If he’s gonna be a buffbot you wana kit him with cnc, MSS, puretide chip, iridium, hit and run and if you have a crisis team with marker drones and target locks a drone controller is a good call here too, but no weapons.

      That commanders kit was all over the place

    • BBF January 24, 2014 1:28 pm #

      The Commander had a drone controller.

      : )

      • krisbot4000 January 24, 2014 2:19 pm #

        he also had guns (a weird mix at that) in addition to the buff systems which means hes wasting one or the other every turn.
        he had no target lock in the event that he did shoot.
        he had no puretide chip which is great with either load out.
        he had no hit and run

        just confusing choices on his part.

    • jy2
      jy2 January 24, 2014 1:50 pm #

      I’m assuming he wanted his Commander kitted out so that he could join either the drones or the riptide dependent on matchup. Don’t forget guys that this is a TAC Tau build designed to play against all armies and not just Tyranids. If you specialize the Buffmander into a particular role – not as if that was bad thing – then you lose out on a lot of the flexibility that he could provide to the army.

      • NIK2286 January 24, 2014 11:27 pm #

        While I agree it’s NICE to be able to bounce between squads, he’s really just doing the same thing most of the time: ignoring cover and providing accuracy. This is done either through the chips/upgrades or with drones. Having both on one commander is overkill.

        Also, his guns aren’t any better than what you should already have in spades in your army list anyway. An extra melta or two plasma aren’t worth getting him close enough to use(which generally means pain if he fails his mission that close)

        I agree that the list was TAC, hence my riptide comment. This is also why I feel he could have streamlined some things and made the list work together better, covering it’s weaknesses within itself, and providing harder target priority for your opponent.

  6. jy2
    jy2 January 24, 2014 1:51 pm #

    Great game, BBF.

    Anytime Tyranids can win a game against Tau or Eldar, it just brings a smile to my face. 😀

    • BBF January 24, 2014 2:05 pm #

      Oh hellz yeas… they better just get used to it too !!

  7. jy2
    jy2 January 24, 2014 1:52 pm #

    And even if they don’t win, I’m happy if they can make the game close and make the opponent sweat. 😉

    • Bigpig January 24, 2014 1:59 pm #

      Lol. Nice save.

  8. Bigpig January 24, 2014 1:58 pm #

    Nice report. Do you intend to play this list competitively or just messing around with codex. Id replace that rupture cannon if so. I’ve always found it lackluster

    • BBF January 24, 2014 2:06 pm #

      I played Bugz for two years in 5th edition when they were really the suck. These are the models I have so there will be changes .

      • Bigpig January 24, 2014 2:30 pm #

        They were solid in fifth. Loved my stealers assaulting from outflank. 🙂

  9. Gricke January 24, 2014 2:31 pm #

    So much wrong with this battle rep. Namely, BBF’s list and it’s inclusion of three Tyranid HQ’s (Jive Tyrant, Alpha Warrior, AND Deathleaper?). I’m also assuming that this wasn’t an Apoc game since it was never mentioned.

    The other things that I found were wrong was the fact that Infiltrators cannot charge on the first turn of the game (in this case, the Genestealers), and also with one Jive Tyrant equipped with HC, you can only Outflank one unit of Troops that doesn’t already, and just because your unit of Genestealers have it doesn’t mean that the rule extends to an Alpha Warrior (or did I miss this debate elsewhere?). In the rep, you Out flanked two units: the Warriors and the Genestealers with Alpha Warrior attached. Therefore, you would need an additional Tyrant with HC to pull this strategy off legally.

    Reecius (!), is there something I’m missing? Didn’t you notice any of these things before you posted the article? I know you’re human too, so I might let it slide, depending on your reply. :p

    • Bigpig January 24, 2014 2:59 pm #

      Stealers have outflank stock with infiltrate. still have the question on whether or not you can extend it to the independent character. the rest of your comments including the huge amount of los are valid. I believe we should have is much ter rain is possible but I think this is a bit more than will be on the tables even at the las vegas open. The battle report reece and i just did is probably more indicative. Still worth shaking out the bugst.

  10. Eldarain January 24, 2014 3:01 pm #

    First of all *Jive Tyrant* makes me want to convert a 70`s Pimp Tyrant.

    I assumed the 3 HQs was because of double FoC, not familiar enough with the books to know whether this is 2000ish or not.

    Hive Commander could have been used to allow the Warriors to Outflank while the Genestealers being Infiltrators can do so with out that Jive Turkey`s assistance 😉

    • Bigpig January 24, 2014 3:20 pm #

      Didn’t catch that it was 2k. Nids are really boosted by double foc. BBF you should run single at 1750 or 1850 if you truly want to asses tournament competitiveness. no fair stacking the deck :-)t

      • Bigpig January 24, 2014 3:38 pm #

        Missed an s there 😉

      • Black Blow Fly January 24, 2014 5:07 pm #

        2k+ is the standard here. Deathleaper was a total waste of 150 points… I would have much rather had another Alpha Warrior or Hive Guard.

  11. Gricke January 24, 2014 3:21 pm #

    On the positive side, though, I did enjoy reading the various outcomes of the game, particularly when the Tyrannofex, a unit that I am currently debating taking, blew up the Hammerhead. A result that may or may not have won it’s points back necessarily, but given your other units room to breathe.

    • Bigpig January 24, 2014 3:51 pm #

      It was stupid lucky. Make sure to playtest that yourself before you glue the gun on. I prefer the acid spray myself

      • Gricke January 24, 2014 4:28 pm #

        Very true, lol.

        Anyway, fellows, the rules written under the “Special Rules” entry within the IC rules on page 39 are pretty clear to me:

        “Unless specified in the rule itself (as in the Stubborn special rule), the unit’s special rules are not conferred upon the Independent Character, and the Independent Character’s special rules are not conferred upon the unit.”

        Therefore, a Genestealer brood with attached Alpha Warrior can only Outflank if you pay the points for a Tyrant w/HC.

        • Eldarain January 24, 2014 5:43 pm #

          Outflank does confer to attached ICs

          “During deployment, players can declare that any unit that contains at least one model with the special rule is attempting to Outflank the enemy.”

          During deployment you declare that the Genestealers and the Prime are staying in reserve as one unit and that they are Outflanking.

    • BBF January 24, 2014 4:26 pm #

      Tfex is Love Hate .

  12. Novastar January 24, 2014 4:29 pm #

    The Tyranids went 2nd, you can assault 1st turn if A: you got super fast units ie bikes/cav or If you have the bottom of the phase then you can assault after scout/infiltrate

    • Gricke January 24, 2014 4:38 pm #

      Oh no, you’re right! I actually just realized this myself.

      I can only blame myself for not playing with Infiltrators more.

  13. Novastar January 24, 2014 8:28 pm #

    No worries I still let people know as I scout my khorne hounds that they can charge( if I’m going second that is)

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