Rippers and Other Nid Hawtness

angry bug


I’ve got bugs on the brain! Check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

I love my bugs. I can’t quite em. The Codex is still pretty disappointing, but, I am seeing a lot of positive in the 7th ed context.

So, the subtle changes to 7th ed have really impacted Nids, more so than many other armies, in my opinion. I have been talking about these and other changes quite a bit with other Nid players like inControl on our team, and we have noticed a lot of little but interesting changes that really impact the way you write your Nid list.



I think these little bad asses might be the new thing for Nids. Why? Several reasons.

  1. They are not only a scoring unit now, they are ObSec. That is huge. Such a change.
  2. They are also Fearless, which is also huge. Fearless troops are worth the weight in gold. Not only does this help to alleviate Instinctual Behavior, but it means the unit is reliable and in the game to the last wound. Tank Shocking is less scary and getting swept in combat, even out of Synapse, is not a concern. They can effectively tarpit units that can’t ID them, too. Lastly, they can operate out of Synapse effectively.
  3. They can Deep Strike at a measly +2pts per base. Again, huge. You can reserve them if needs be to keep them out of harms way, and then bring them in where needed. It also gives them reach and Rippers are actually a decent threat to non-dedicated assault units. Guardian Jetbikes, and MSU scoring units will be in for a surprisingly tough fight against a unit of Rippers. They are also not slowed by difficult terrain, so they are slippery little boogers.
  4. The environment has changed. There will be less Heldrakes, less Ignores Cover Riptides with templates, Vector Strike getting nerfed, etc. Also, cover saves in general got better which is good for the little guys as they will be less likely to get insta-gibbed.
  5. They’re cheap, cheap, cheap. You can fill your troops slots with Deep Strike for a mere 90pts. That leaves a LOT of points for sheer offense.
  6. Lastly, they’re small. They are physically easy to hide. The FW version above are pretty tall but the GW versions are less than an inch in height, so they are quite easy to hide.


Monstrous Offense

TMCs (Tyranid Monstrous Creatures) are relatively cheap and hit pretty hard. They are fairly fragile though. Toughness 6 and a 3+ save are really nothing special in the current meta. The answer then, is to go WWII Russia status! Quantity is a Quality all of its own. Plus, now they are scoring units. Nice!

Take LOTS of TMCs. As many as you can fit outside of the necessary scoring units and support units (which we will get to). I have found that that this works really well by simply overwhelming your opponent’s ability to deal with the volume of threats you present before you are into his lines. The trick is volume. Add in the minimum of upgrades to each TMC to enable them to perform their given role. The ABSOLUTE minimum. Assume each of the TMCs is going to die and that every point spent is a liability.

Dakkafexes (Carnifex with 2 sets of twin Devourers) are studs. For a meager 150pts, they give you a multi-role unit that shoots well and with twin link can take on air targets. Also, now that smash has gotten nerfed, they are fantastic comparatively at taking on armor with their base strength of 9 and D3 Hammer of Wrath attacks.

Tervigons as assault monsters. For some folks, this probably sounds like a no brainer as you have always done it this way. However, for me personally (and I am sure many others) I always used Tervigons as a resilient backfield objective scoring units and synapse providers. Typically with a ton of high threat units going up-field and the hard to kill status of a Tervigon, they often didn’t even get shot. However, now that the Tyranid paradigm may shift away from old style builds to all out offense I could see a Tervigon taken as an HQ choice with Crushing Claws whose primary role is to go up-field and fight, and secondarily to produce ObSec units if needed. Crushing Claws are amazing now as they give you +1 strength and armorbane and fill the gap left by the Smash nerf. They then become a blended role unit and when coming at you in an armada of other TMCs, present some very difficult target priority choices for your opponent.

Haruspex. I really didn’t give this guy a second look in 6th as he was just a bit of a wet noodle compared to all the other TMCs. However, in the context of an all out TMC rush, his position in the Elites slot and his coming with Crushing Claws and the ability to chew through infantry fairly well and is an absolute menace to vehicles. Give him Adrenal Glands for Fleet and Furious and he is a really solid TMC that blends like the Tervigon above, becomes one of many very difficult targets.

The usual suspects are solid, too, like the Flyrant, Exocrine, etc.

Superior Support

Venomthropes. They were damn near auto-include before and now that there is less Ignores Cover and better cover saves in general to be improved by Shrouded, yeah, I doubt you will see a serious Nid list without these guys. They are such tremendous force multipliers that they can’t be ignored. They make all your points invested into other units go a lot further. They protect your investment. Take them. Take two or more. Be careful with them though, as they can give up First Blood like no one’s business.

Hive Guard. Yeah, remember these guys? They’re going to be coming back. Mark my words. Despite the (totally unnecessary) nerf to them, Hive Guard still provide a vital role in a Nid army: they pop medium vehicles and transports. With Ignores Cover, and Homing (ignores LoS) on a strength 8, Assault 2 weapon on a T6, 2W platform, these are a solid unit. Plus, they Doo-Doo on one of the most under-priced, over-valued units in the game: the Wave Serpent. As vehicles–particularly transport vehicles–will be back with a vengeance, Hive Guard will have a niche in the new environment, too.

Biovores. Biovores are fantastic. They always have been but now especially in a meta that will be seeing an increase in MSU scoring units like combat squaded Marines, Jetbikes, etc. Biovores will find themselves in a target rich environment. I run them in the Living Artillery formation which twin links them, and yeah, they routinely cut a swathe through enemy infantry.

We’re not being smashed!

Multi-wound, mid range toughness models in general got a lot better in a gaming environment that doesn’t swim in Smashing Monstrous Creatures. Ogryn particularly jump out at me (but I digress). Raveners, Warriors, Shrikes, Lictors, etc. are all much more viable in this new context. While you will still have those games where you find Psyfilment Dreads, or Missile Launcher Spam, lots of Thunder Hammers, etc. across the table and your heavy investment into these medium bugs become a huge liability, they are MUCH better comparatively.

We were cool back in High School!

Poor Crones and Harpies. They get hit hard by the new rules. They aren’t bad by any means. But they are a lot less powerful than they were. If you have them, and they’re painted, rock it. They don’t suck at all. But they will see a fairly dramatic decrease in efficacy.


So there you go! I think that Nids still piss me off to high hell and back for the missed opportunities, but, their is a silver lining. I have been really enjoying playing the army a lot, and they have been winning me games. What do you all think?


About Reecius

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

50 Responses to “Rippers and Other Nid Hawtness”

  1. Joshhodg June 26, 2014 12:05 am #

    Are you liking the list you played in the last video or are you planning to tweak it? I am now one carnifex box away from being able to run any type of list I want. I like seeing you come up with lists I can copy or tweak a little to make my tyranids decent at my local shop. We should get a post on the forums going or something just for awesome nid tournament lists.

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:42 am #

      I am actually going to add MORE TMCs to it! Haha, I am thinking about dropping all the little guys and going straight Rippers and TMCs, see how it works.

      • fluger June 27, 2014 12:23 pm #

        Ugh, I really hate nidzilla, but Nids being effective brightens my heart.

        Rippers getting better was something I was thinking about.

  2. Bassface7 June 26, 2014 1:11 am #

    What’re your thoughts on Synapse Reecius? How many Synapse creatures do you think is “enough” at this points level?

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:35 am #

      The nice thing about TMCs is that they are Fearless and largely ignore the bad stuff on the IB table. However, in a non Nidzilla list, I usually take the Warriors from the Living Arty formation, the obligatory Flyrant (but he hardly counts as he usually is out of Synapse and dies early) and my Tervie. Those have held the web together for me well if positioned well.

  3. Sythica June 26, 2014 2:35 am #

    I’m starting to see a bit of a consensus that conjured units (daemons) cannot be ObSec because they are not part of your detachment. Would this not also apply to Tervigon-spawned units?

    • Pascal Roggen June 26, 2014 3:46 am #

      yeah, the whole, not bought as part of your army, shtick seems to indicate summoned units aren’t objsec.
      but if there’s debate on it, let me know:)

      • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:48 am #

        Of course there is a debate, lol! Isn’t there always? But essentially summoned units come in different flavors, and thus, have different rules applied to them.

    • Aegwymourn June 26, 2014 5:17 am #

      It is covered in the actual Tervigon spawning rules “identical to a termagant selection” is the wording I think.

      • FTGTEvan June 26, 2014 7:34 am #

        It specifies they count as troops chosen from your army list and benefit from all mission special rules for being troops.

        • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:30 am #

          That’s what I am reading, too.

  4. Leif Kenneth June 26, 2014 5:41 am #

    I’m gonna try a few off these suggestions. I cross my fingers it will work, cause skyblight isn’t that fun in the long road

  5. Marius Xerxes June 26, 2014 6:23 am #

    With Thunderfire Cannons and Wyverns all over the place, Ignore Cover weapons are still very much popular and something you will run into with frequency.

    Turkey’s may have gotten the nerf, but if tau find themselves in a meta where they need Ignore Cover weapons, they can keep the Riptides, reinvest the points into marker lights or (most likely) just ally and get Thunderfire Cannons or Wyverns.

    I don’t think you will see less Ignore Cover, I just think you will see fewer unique platforms that had the rule. Wyvern batteries will become the new Coteaz.

    • Marius Xerxes June 26, 2014 6:30 am #

      I should put the caveat that if an army finds itself in a meta where more Ignore Cover is needed, Wyverns will likely be the target of a popularity surge.

      • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:33 am #

        We’re seeing buckets of them here, but, Rippers are decent as each template should only hit a single base and the multi-wound status and Fearless helps offset the damage done. Plus, you can Deepstrike and then focus on killing Wyverns with relatively safe TMCs before the little guys come on the table.

  6. jifel June 26, 2014 6:46 am #

    I agree with everything you’ve said about Tyranids, but I think you’re leaving out two very important things…

    1. Fortifications: Venomthropes become SO much more survivable inside or behind a Bastion, and a Defense line makes Rippers nearly unkillable.

    2. Allies: Tyranids still suffer for ranged anti armor. You know who fixes that? Imperial Knights. I’ve tried my TyraKnights (trademark pending) in 7 games and have loved it, and I’m painting him in the colors of House Mortimer of course.

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:32 am #

      Good point on the Forts, I had not brought that up.

      I REFUSE to use allies with Nids, lol, except for IG themed to be a Stealer cult. it just flies int he face of the fluff too much for me =)

  7. Brian June 26, 2014 6:53 am #

    Does anyone else think that spinefists on ripper swarms are actually quite viable? If you’re going to be deepstriking anyway, all those twin linked shots can devastate some light infantry for cheap. Just a thought, but let me know what you guys think.

    • Smellofwetdog June 26, 2014 8:34 am #

      I always thought the idea of rippers with spinefists was pretty funny looking if nothing else. 12 TL s3 ap5 shots per brood, more possible if you expand it is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately rippers have such a low BS you’ll have the shooting effectiveness of orks.

      I think I would try it at least once just for the lulz. I always find it amusing when units that are generally regarded as terrible kill something, I dunno if an extra 25% cost is worth it though, probably better off just putting those points into more bases tbh.

      • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:25 am #

        Yeah, it’s not bad at all. A bit pricey, but meshes well with Deep Strike.

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:30 am #

      Have to try it out!

  8. Novastar June 26, 2014 8:21 am #

    I think this will also be a revival for grandfather nurgle’s favorite little blighters in the form of nurgleings!!

    • Novastar June 26, 2014 8:24 am #

      Getting shroud and a natural invulnerable will make them very hard to budge

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:36 am #

      Totally agree! Ninka Nurglings are back, baby!

  9. AbusePuppy June 26, 2014 8:29 am #

    I still think Rippers are pretty bad- not only do they die horribly to S6+, blasts, and templates (and don’t kid yourself, there’s still gonna be a lot of those around) they also eat themselves on a lot of failed IB tests (meaning you won’t last long out of Synapse), are more expensive than Termagants on a per-wound basis, and lack the guns that most of the other small bugs come with. Being scoring makes them theoretically useable again, but I still see no real reason I would take them over Termagants, Hormagaunts, or Gargoyles.

    I’ve run the foot Tyrant + Haruspex + Fexes list before, but I’m not convinced that it will work out. Sure, you’ve got a lot of hard-hitting MCs on the table, but as you say- they’re just not that tough, and there are some REALLY hard-hitting shooty armies around. They have no real way to catch mobile threats (like Bikes or Serpents) and are pretty easily tarpitted. They’re definitely better than they were, but I still don’t feel like they’re as good as they would need to be- especially not in comparison to stuff like the FMCs in the army, which are _amazingly_ resilient in 7E.

    Crones obviously don’t hit nearly as hard anymore, but I think that just makes way for more Harpies in a list- the Heavy Venom Cannon is a pretty legit way to wreck tanks in 7E (it’s basically a Lascannon) and you can bring a LOT of anti-infantry firepower if you want to. Flyrants are also still unbelieveably good, and they were always the centerpiece of that list.

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:41 am #

      I actually think you are off on the Str6 template/blast issue, honestly. I was thinking about it and in the current meta, the only real culprit that ignores cover and is over str6 that you can assume you will see often is the Wave Serpent. Wyverns are bad, but won’t insta-gib you, the other common template throwers don’t ignore cover AND have str6 of better. The T-Fire is str5 at ignores cover (still powerful for sure, though) the Whirlwind isn’t either. Turkies are a lot less scary, etc. I honestly don’t think we will see it as much as before. Plus, with Deep Strike, you simply keep the little buggers off the table. They don’t take IB tests the turn they come on, so you get at least 2 turns of safety.

      I have been playing a largely foot, shooting TMC list and have not lost a game yet. I actually outshot Tau, which had us both laughing. I am not saying it’s a silver bullet or anything of course, just that so far in testing, it has worked great for me.

      And yes, Flyrants are still the hot sizzle, totally agree there.

      • AbusePuppy June 26, 2014 10:09 am #

        The thing is, they don’t need to be S6 AND Ignores Cover AND Blast to give you a bad day- any one or two of those things can do it. Wyverns are causes two wounds per hit, remember- so even just a single Wyvern can be expected to put ~8 wounds on you, possibly even more. And S6 weapons are gonna be pulping you every time you fail that 4+ cover save- sure, you get to roll, but honestly the Wave Serpent doesn’t care, because all those Shuriken Cannon/Scatter Laser shots are still tearing you apart.

        Tyranids have a lot of good shooting, but it’s all pretty short-ranged (18″-24″). Can’t speak to your list, but I find that means a good player will often take second turn and just deny you 2-3 turns of fire by deploying out of range.

    • TheWarRoom June 26, 2014 7:14 pm #

      How are you blowing up tanks with S9 AP4 weapons? I guess open top ones. It’s quite a bit different from a lascannon.

      • AbusePuppy June 26, 2014 8:41 pm #

        Same way most things kill tanks, stripping HP. It’s not like Lascannons have a particularly high chance of getting an Explodes result.

        • Smellofwetdog June 27, 2014 10:10 am #

          But the HVC has zero chance of scoring the explodes result.

  10. iNcontroL June 26, 2014 9:42 am #

    AMEN BROTHA. Lots of great options atm. 450 points for 3 dakkafexxes is hard to get past atm.. so many good lists floating around our heads atm.

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 9:51 am #

      Yeah, me too. Nids got a lot more flexible.

  11. bigpig June 26, 2014 10:16 am #

    On the TMC front, have you considered the Subterranean Swarm? I haven’t given it a go yet, having preferred to try and get Endless swarm to work (though probably giving up on that now since it doesn’t get Objective Secured). Subterranean Swarm gives you trygon and mawloc TMCs and a bunch of Raveners that all hit at the same time anywhere on the board. The Mawloc hits dead on since you strike the prime first, then the raveners, mawloc, and trygons come on without scatter as long as within range of the Prime. Pair that with some FMCs and you have a huge threat in the enemy backfield turn 2.

    It clocks in at 800+ points, but there is still room for rippers, a flyrant, and harpy or crone.

    • Reecius June 26, 2014 10:53 am #

      I have not tried it yet, but may do so. Some other folks int he shop were talking about trying that one, too.

  12. Jural June 26, 2014 12:29 pm #

    This is long how I have felt… and it pulls me towards the subterranean assault formation… if only it wasn;t filled with so much useless crap! The Trygon, prime, and Mawloc are great for getting in an opponents’s grill…

    The real question is can you spam enough TMC to actually make the Swarmlord with Tyrant Guard useful… I’m still thinking no, despite it being my favorite ‘Nid ;(

    • bigpig June 26, 2014 4:37 pm #

      I think that the Raveners could actually be very useful when arriving with the big guys in a huge alpha. The problem with raveners is their fragility and having to cross the board. If I can put 9 of them on the board at the same time that I have all these other higher priority targets hitting, then they are much more likely to survive. While everyone else is shooting at the prime, trygon, and mawloc, the Raveners now have a threat bubble up to 24″ from the point of entry. Not too shabby really.

      • Jural June 26, 2014 9:59 pm #

        My raveners are so old they are on square bases… but maybe they’ll see the light of day in this edition…

      • Reecius June 27, 2014 9:15 am #

        Hey, it’s definitely worth trying.

    • AbusePuppy June 26, 2014 6:17 pm #

      I feel like Mawlocs could see a lot more use than they do currently- they’re great at getting Linebreaker or nabbing an objective, they’re quite tough for their cost, and they have a ton of hidden little abilities that make them useful.

      Swarmlord just got hit with too many losses to really be good at what he does anymore. Back when he could roll on Telepathy or Biomancy he was a beast, even if a pricey one, but lacking that and also getting significantly weaker in a fight was a one-two punch he couldn’t survive.

      • Reecius June 27, 2014 9:16 am #

        Yeah, poor swarmy really got nerfed, hard. Sigh, he was a champion briefly. I would consider him if he still forced you to reroll invul saves this edition, but he lost that, too. So lame. That was what made him so beastly.

  13. Scuba Steve June 27, 2014 6:04 pm #

    This article makes me want to start up my nids again! Only problem is its Stealer heavy and has few in the way of MC”s… Good ol’ 4th edition!

    • Reecius June 27, 2014 6:27 pm #

      Tell me about it, man. I have 50 Genestealers, all painted! =(

      • Scuba Steve June 27, 2014 8:52 pm #

        Thats a shit load of stealers lol. I have 30 with a Brood Lord. Back when he was still a MC with ap2 attacks, special characters beware!! But I cant decide if consolidating into CC had made its way into 7th Edition, if that would have made Nids utterly broken or over all competitive again. What’s your thoughts?

        • Reecius June 27, 2014 11:21 pm #

          Are you asking if you can consolidate into combat? If so, no, you cannot. And I am glad that isn’t back, it was way too good back in 4th.

  14. fleetofclaw June 28, 2014 12:27 am #

    You know how I know you’re a genius Reece? Because I agree with most of what you said haha. I do like me some rippers though and I’ve been toying with an idea to run some deep striking lil bugs.

    Just one point of contention however…

    I still think the Haruspex is trash. Yeah they’re in the Elite slot but I can take minimal troops and still use up all my points throwing *good* TMCs on the table before having to use my Elite slots. Their main problem is they’re combat only (unless you count their idiotic tongue gun – so much potential, so much fail), where as a Dakkafex is insanely versatile and costs less. The ‘Spex is just too many points once you’ve thrown fleet on a critter that is really only good at blowing up high AV targets (despite his gimmicky mechanic of generating extra attacks and regain wounds vs targets with wounds). He’s got too few attacks to matter vs infantry, crappy WS and too unsurvivable vs elite infantry or other MCs.

    He’s just a one trick pony that costs too much, and honestly he’s too slow to be good at that one trick. I want him to be worthwhile because I love the model; but he’s poo.

    • Reecius June 28, 2014 12:35 am #

      I agree with the Harusoex but for one point: he wrecks vehicles. With crushing claws he’s one of the best units we have now for killing tanks and especially super heavy tanks.

      • fleetofclaw June 30, 2014 12:41 am #

        If they can get to those tanks, for sure they’ll murdelize them :[
        But for only 150 pts so would a AG + CC Carnifex right? Sigh, I want frog bug to be good so badly!

  15. The Voice June 29, 2014 3:06 am #

    Ok so i tried it.

    Holy hell Nids work again!!

    I ran:

    2 flying dakka tyrants

    2 hauspex
    3 hive guard

    6×3 rippers


    3×1 dakka fex

    Was pretty brutal

    Interestingly, i got psykic scream…did you know that as novas can be cast while in combat, and that if you are not touching a enemy model AT THE END OF ANY PHASE,you can use it to disengage from combats like a offensive hit and run?

    I didnt till i played that game and promptly killed about 400 points in one turn by popping it, unlocking myself then shooting and charging another unit.


    • Reecius June 29, 2014 12:17 pm #

      Nicely done! And yeah, we have been finding the same thing, Nidzilla works and it works well now.

      Nice pointer on the NOVA, that is awesome.

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