Hey everyone, we have an awesome Nid review by Bigpig and a really fantastic announcement, too!
TABLEWAR and Frontline Gaming are super pleased to announce the pre-orders for our new F.A.T. Mats! I will space the images of the new mats throughout the article, click on the images to pre-order yours if they look like something you may want to get! Now, on to the Nids!
Hey everybody, Bigpig here to break cover early and take a look at the latest “they love me, they love me not” gifts given to Tyranid players by our favorite abusive partner: Games Workshop. All this before all of the models and rules are completely released! The last couple weeks have been a wild ride for the elements of the Hive Mind. We’ve had high hopes and cautious anticipation leading up to the release of the Toxicrene/Malefactor, which came crashing down upon the rules hitting the internet, only to swing right back up to a new high with the dam breaking leaks about the Spore models. Now that the rules are out on those, we still have the rumors of the “Doom” coming back.
What’s coming? Each of the new releases features the ability to make two or three different models, each with a unique role. The rules, or Datasheet, are published in White Dwarf and will hopefully be available through another source. There was initially speculation that an additional copy will be in each box, but with none to be found in the Toxicrene/Maleceptor kits, it looks like we are limited to White Dwarf dataslates for the time being. I do suspect one of the upcoming campaign books will have dataslates, but time will tell. I have to say that I do like this expansion idea by GW. It allows them to add new content to an army without having to wait to reprint an entirely new codex. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this be the way of the future for new releases once all the codices are updated for seventh.
First Wave: Toxicrene/Malefactor
Both are Monstrous Creatures following the same tried and true WS3 BS3 T6 format, and with 5 Wounds like the Exocrine/Haruspex. Unfortunately, they do break the mold by sporting only a 4+ save. They also appear to be completely unable to purchase any book biomorphs. Hopefully this is a mistake in the WD dataslate which will be corrected in the future, though I doubt it.
Toxicrene Overview: The Tox is presented as a melee oriented MC. To differentiate from a melee fex or Trygon, the Tox is super poisonous with Poison (2+) and Instant Death on 6’s. It also has a short range large blast shooting attack that has the same poison rules and can also glance open topped or previously damaged vehicles. This does bring something unique to nids: a reasonably priced source for instant death attacks. On the AP2 monstrous creature platform , this can be pretty effective against multiwound models that lack an invul or have a manageable invul of 5++ or worse. This includes Wraithknights, Riptides, any Marine character without the Shield Eternal (I think they exist), Demon Princes, and of course other Tyranids. Six attacks at WS3 gives you close to a 50/50 chance of scoring that 6. This makes it one of those “luck” units that can either score big or underperform based on the rolls of the dice. You will have those games where it IDs everything it touches and those where it only puts out a few wounds a turn, based on your to wound rolls.
The shooting attack is significantly less effective in the Instant Death department because it does not have any AP. If you do get lucky and roll that 6, you have to get lucky again and hope the enemy doesn’t save. Not at all reliable. Just to make it interesting, the 12” range means the Tox can scatter back on itself and instant death itself, or other nearby friendly Monstrous Creatures, from time to time. Nice!
But what about the weaknesses? For starters, lack of access to biomorphs means no fleet and no assault grenades equivalent. This is a big deal for a model that wants to get to grips with the enemy. Fleet would help you make that charge and grenade equivalents would allow you to actually attack enemies in cover at the Tox’s wonderful initiative of 6 (Lash Whips). Interestingly enough, the Tox appears to follow the same workout routine as the Malanthrope and has been skipping “arm day” at the gym leaving us with a Str of 5. This isn’t a big deal because of the 2+ poison but does make assaulting vehicles a much less effective option.
Next, the 4+ save is a huge downgrade from the old stock 3+ TMCs have enjoyed for so long. 4+ means this little fella folds like a politician to special interests in the face of AP4 weapons. This is huge because AP4 is where weapons tend to go from single shot anti tank weapons to multi shot anti infantry/light vehicle. Assault cannons, quad guns, heavy bolters, Thunderfire cannons, Autocannons, and a host of other weapons will churn out multiple wounds on the Tox each turn, quickly chewing up its 5 wounds. With shrouding you can mitigate this some, but it requires you to be a bit more defensive. You must use cover effectively, which can slow your advance. Podding him in can offset this too since you won’t be in the gunsights as long. So what it comes down to is that the Tox will be more survivable against anti tank weapons and the Dakka or Tyranofex will survive better against everything else.
Another issue for 4+ armor comes from the humble Krak Grenade. This AP4 gem is standard on a lot of infantry models and allows them to wreck a Tox in close combat where he can’t claim a cover save. As an example, a standard Tac Squad of 10 marines, if charged in cover by the Tox will do 3 wounds to the Tox from Krak grenades. In return he kills 4 marines (one from Acid Blood and 3 from attacks) and dies the next turn. Not impressive for a dedicated a close combat unit. This can be improved by blowing the Toxic Miasma, which also benefits from being Hypertoxic. Basically, you have to pick your targets to be effective and those targets are limited, but at the right time against the right enemy….. Look out!
So where does the Tox fit? Well, in one off or league games where you know the opponent will be running those juicy multi wound models, it might be worth running one or two. The threat factor of instant death on your opponents 200+ point models means the Tox will be a fire magnet, especially if you drop him in close with the soon to be released Tyrannocytes. This only works, though, if you commit to the strategy such as in a full on drop army where the threat of the Tox can help keep your other elements alive. Drop him into cover for a 3+ or 2+ near that juicy target you want to threaten. The enemy will be forced to commit resources to take it out letting the rest of your army live or will ignore it and take the risk of the lucky hits. If the Tox is soaking up fire, it has to be so something else can get through or complete a job, otherwise he’s just dying. (Tell my story, Bro. Don’t let me die in vain!).
For competitive lists, however, I think there are still better choices. For the same cost as the Tox, a Dakkafex is about as survivable thanks to 3+ save, has better range, can kill more models at range, can damage non open topped vehicles up to AV12 with shooting, can actually flip land raiders in assault, and only kills 1 or 2 fewer models per round in assault. The place the Tox shines is in killing those multi wound models with lucky hits and that is just something you can’t count on for a multi round competitive tournament. Will require some playtesting to see how it works out in conjunction with other elements on the board.
Final Grade: B
A fun model, that does have a place and will see some table time but is not a game changer.
Maleceptor: The second piece of this first wave of releases is the Maleceptor. This is another WS/BS 3, T5, W6 model, sharing the 4+ save with the Toxicrene but sporting a 5+ invul instead of the shrouding rule. It is also a level 2 psyker with a unique “comes standard” psyker power, Psychic Overload. All this for two Benjamins and a nickel. This guy is billed as a monstrous psychic assassin and appears to be intended to snipe key enemy models out of units with its “incredible” new psyker power. Sounds great right? That is a role we don’t have in our army already. Did GW do right on this one?
Alas, no. Sadly, the Maleceptor (starting to be referred to as the “Lolceptor”) is ill equipped to perform as intended and is so overpriced for what it brings to the table that it will almost never set plastic on a F.A.T. mat. Sure it provides synapse, but basically it is a delivery mechanism for the Psychic Overload power. The design of Psychic Overload is another great example of those who design the rules for the game, apparently not understanding the rules of the game. For starters, a Warp Charge 2 Focused Witchfire will require SIX dice to have a reasonable chance of hitting the desired target. Then, after committing all those dice and getting the power off, you still have to roll to hit vs BS3! Who thought this was a good idea?!?! Seriously, throwing a significant portion of your Psychic Phase into a power with a 50% chance of missing entirely is just asinine. Ok, let’s assume you put all those dice into the power you got lucky and hit, now you still need to roll over the Ld of the unit to do wounds, which is roughly 50% against Ld 9 or 10. Oh, and did I mention that even if you do get lucky and manifest, hit, do damage, then the model can still Look Out Sir to a scrub if it is a character. Basically, this power can snipe out heavy weapons and non characters if it gets lucky. What a horribly written power to give to an expensive model as a signature ability. Do these guys actually play the game?
So beyond that, what do we have? Unfortunately, not a lot to cheer about. The same 4+ save is there making the Mal a juicy target for high ROF heavy weapons. Sure there is a 5+ invul, but you are probably claiming at least that in cover anyways and just ask Terminator players how great that 5++ is. The Mal is a Level 2 psyker and a synapse node on a Monstrous Creature platform. This isn’t bad, but the cost is just so high that there are better choices. For less than the Mal, you could buy a Tervigon. Granted it’s an HQ, but with Spores coming back, dropping Termaguants in the backfield may allow you to open up the Terv as a troop again. Even better, take FOUR Zoanthropes in two or three unit for up to 8 buckets of Warp Dice instead of 2 and save 5 points for your trouble. Even a single Zoan gives you the same number of charges and synapse all while freeing up 150pts to take a useful monstrous creature.
Final Grade: F
Unless a killer combo comes up in the Leviathan supplements or you are playing some kooky scenario where you can shoot a solo character with mind bullets, there is no reason to ever take this model. Seriously, whenever someone takes a Maleceptor, a kitten is fed feet first into a wood chipper. Don’t take one. Think of the kittens!
First wave complete. In summary, nothing in these two to change the way Tyranids play, however there is still more to come. With luck I’ll be back to comment on pods, Dooms, and supplements. In the meantime, keep nomming. So what are your thoughts on these two new units? Any experiences or cool stories of Toxicrenes IDing big scary monsters?