Tyranid Codex Review: HQ: Tervigon

Hello everybody, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today we are going to take a look at the bug that keeps on giving, the mighty Tervigon. Of course, head over to Frontline’s Tactics Corner for a comprehensive database of tips, tricks, and tidbits.


The Tervigon is the brood-generator of the Tyranid forces, a support piece that is both a backline synapse anchor as well as a troop creator, and who doesn’t love free points? While not the scariest beastie, the Tervigon brings plenty of play on the mission for the bugs.

Stinger Salvo – Range 18, S5, AP4, Assault 4 gun
Scything Talons – Basic Close Combat Weapon for Tyranids

Basic Biomorphs: Toxin Sacs (poison), Acid Blood (special attack in CC), Adrenal Glands (Furious Charge and Fleet), Regeneration (4+ It Will Not Die).
Thorax Biomorphs: Electroshock Grubs (Haywire Template), Desiccator Larvae (Fleshbane Template), Shreddershard Beetles (Rending/Shred template)
May take Tyranid Bio-Artefacts.
May replace Scything Talons with Crushing Claws (+1S and Armourbane)
May replace Stinger Salvo with Cluster Spines (Range 18, S5, AP-, Assault 1 Large Blast)


Ok, so the standard, stock Tervigon has only two basic items, a 4 shot Heavy Bolter and a basic melee weapon. This isn’t too bad at all as the Tervigon can fire off some chip shots at maybe Objective campers, and the standard CCW isn’t all that important as the Tervigon is inherently AP2. It doesen’t get two sets though, so it does not get +1 attack for two CCWs.

With the options, you can trick this big mama out. Poison is a bit needless with base S5 and only 3 attacks, but then rerolling against T5 and below can help make the most out of the Tervigon’s wimpy attack stat. Regeneration can be nice as the Tervigon has 6 Wounds standard, so being able to heal wounds can get you some extra mileage. All the template weapons are alright, and Electroshock Grubs are very helpful when dealing with heavy armor. Cluster Spines is pretty meh, but Crushing Claws can make a Tervigon a reliable armor-cracker with S6 and Armourbane.

The problem, as we will get to, is that the Tervigon is pretty expensive stock, and once you start adding in these upgrades, you start spending Land Raider sized points.


Special Rules:
Brood Progenitor: All Termagant units within 12 of the Tervigon have Counter-Attack
Psyker (Mastery Level 1): Never bad to have more dice
Shadow in the Warp: -3 Leadership to all enemy Psykers within 12.
Spawn Termagants: At end of your movement phase, a Tervigon can create 3D6 new Termagants into a new unit that is placed wholly within 6 inches. If you roll any doubles or triples, the Tervigon loses this ability for the rest of the game.
Synapse Creature: Every Tyranid within 12 is Fearless and ignores Instinctive Behavior
Synaptic Backlash: When the Tervigon is killed, all Termagant units within 12 suffer 3D6 S3 AP- hits.
Bonus Special Rule: Scuttling Swarm: For every unit of 30 termagants, you may take a Tervigon as a Troops choice rather than an HQ.

It is not hard to see what the Tervigon is meant to do. Brood Progenitor doesn’t often come up, but Termagant screens that suddenly get 2 attacks when charged can do some surprising damage in the process of dying. With Synapse and Psyker, you have a nice beacon to help the center with 12 inches and coming with the primaris, the Tervigon can power up to an 18 inch synapse range. This definitely gives you some great coverage. What everybody knows and what everybody loves is Spawn Termagants: Creating free units is never, ever bad, and the Tervigon is one of the first of the “free points” beasts to enter the game way back in the day, and being able to pump out some objective campers or speed bumps can be game-winning. It is quite luck dependent as it sucks to roll 1, 1, and 2 on the first turn, but then this is balanced out by the games when all you roll is 4, 5, and 6 each turn. A newer addition to the beast is the Synaptic Backlash, making it painful for your Tervigons to die. This means that you need to get the babies away from it as soon as possible, and using the Primaris to keep Synapse at 18 helps keep the little bugs out of the blast radius. Scuttling Swarm is also huge for allowing you to take another HQ choice in a standard CAD or a Leviathan Detachment, and thanks to the GW FAQ (still draft form as of this writing), Objective Secured Tervigons create Objective Secured Termagants! That’s real awesome, and again, it gives you a lot of play on the mission.


With all of this in mind, how do you best go about using this beast? The Tervigon is primarily a support piece, an anchor to your back line that keeps the Synapse up and produces little units. With only psyker level 1, the Tervigon is not going to dominate the psychic phase nor is it likely to land too many important powers, but really, the Tervigon is there to keep synapse up, and if you have an extra dice, throw one at Dominion to get that 18 inch synapse range. Producing little units can be a detriment in Kill Point games, but often, being able to generate new units is huge for controlling the mission and feeding the grinder of war. Even a small 6-gant unit can delay an enemy for a turn or sit on an objective. You do want to be careful about generating units each turn. On average dice, you will get about 2 spawns before rolling a double or triple, so you have to measure the field. If you are facing against an army that can easily kill the Tervigon at range, then produce what you can, when you can, and try to get the little bugs away from the time bomb. If you are facing a shorter ranged army or a melee army, you can be a bit more selective in what turns you need to produce Termies.

A fun but expensive tactic is to put a Tervigon in a Tyrannocyte and drop it off into your opponent’s backfield. This forces your opponent to have to turn to deal with the big bug immediately or risk suddenly having a multiplying infestation messing with their backfield objectives. This is a big risk though as this costs more than a Land Raider. It is a bit more workable in the Incubator Node formation as rerolling 1s on the spawn mean that you are going to get far more than average (which is 10 on 3d6), so you can suddenly flood the enemy backline.  The downside is the minimum 120 extra points for the 3 minimum termagant squads that aren’t Obsec.

You can also bring a lot of kit to the Tervigon by giving it a whole host of upgrades. Unfortunately, most of these just cost points that really don’t have a reasonable impact on the game to justify the cost. One could make the argument for Crushing Claws as giving the Tervigon S6 and Armourbane is a great backfield threat that suddenly makes picking up contesting Drop Pods pretty much a guarantee. Being able to leverage what is essentially a support beast into a distinct melee threat has its appeal, but with only 3 attacks base and WS3, the Tervigon really can’t do too much work. Electronshock grubs are handy as being able to haywire down any vehicle is nice, and since you can overwatch with it, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve surprised a Knight player when their weakened Knight tries to pick up an easy kill and suddenly takes D3 Haywire hits to end the fight before it starts.


Of course, the more points you put into a Tervigon, the more you need it to do, and really, even with all the upgrades, it just can’t perform for its points. A Tervigon loaded to chew bubble gum is going to set you back about a Land Raider, and no matter what, it only is going to throw out 4 attacks. That’s not so good. Tervigons are best when kept cheap, so you have more room for other units, and really, what you want the Tervigon to do, it does at its base point cost. There is no reason to upgrade it to try and make it fit a need that it really can’t fill. Again, unless you are positive that you will see a lot of annoying armor like Drop Pods, Crushing Claws is too many points, and while it may seem smart to give it the Norn Crown for a standard 18 inch synapse bubble, this doesn’t come cheap either. If you are using the Tervigon, you are best at investing into quantity over quality style army builds, so saving 25-40 points can net you another 10 bodies elsewhere.

Like all Tyranid MCs, the Tervigon still needs support. T6 with 6 Wounds isn’t bad at all, but the usual suspects can still pick it up quite easily like Grav or D weapons. Having Malanthropes or Venomthropes is a necessity as a 3+ armor save isn’t enough to keep this big bug safe. A Tervigon is slow, but it doesn’t need to be fast. It is not a front-line fighter, and again, it is a support piece, so keep it away from fights unless you are sniping out light vehicles.

Is the Tervigon a worthy addition to a competitive Tyranid list? Yes, depending on the build. With the ability to make troops, it can be paired well with the typical Flyrant spam as flyrants struggle to win the mission, and in a horde style list that is about drowning the enemy in bodies, the Tervigon also provides some nice recursion to tip the odds in your favor.

As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to check out TFG Radio and my crazy Tyranid resolutions.


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About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.

7 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review: HQ: Tervigon”

  1. Dale January 22, 2017 6:58 am #

    Although it would cost a lot in both points and real money, using 2 DSing Tervigon’s in a Swarm Lord list with Raveners broods blasting up the board to lay down the pain, meanwhile, 60 termies are grabbing objectives could be fun.

  2. Dakkath January 22, 2017 9:13 am #

    A tervigon can still smash for a single str 10 hit if it comes to mass pods. Otherwise, a terv with electroshock in a tyrannocyte with cannon upgrades is going to plop 3 units minimum into the enemy’s backfield. 2 of which are MCs.

  3. Joe January 23, 2017 1:12 am #

    Actually the spawned termagant are ObSec. per the latest FAQ that was finally published. but yes, I hope the tyranids get some better toys, or maybe rework the armor system or something to make all these MCs survive more then one-two turns.

    • Tnid January 23, 2017 11:35 pm #

      Id rather have them lower the point cost quite a bit and keep em fragile. Could still be competitive and would fall in line with the lore of swarming hordes.

      • Nurglitch January 27, 2017 7:06 am #

        I think extending the Without Number rules from the Endless Swarm and Skyblight formations is a good idea for Tyranids. There’s great incentive to take lots of little bugs if they’re completely disposable.

        • Indy January 30, 2017 6:26 pm #

          Yea I like that idea.

          I also read a rumor (no idea how valid) a while back that the studio was playtesting reworked army rules for the ‘Nids. The rumor (again this is a rumor) was that Synapse creatures would provide buffs, rather than negate debuffs. The ideas was that Instinctive behavior as we know it only really happened if units failed Morale tests, but they were still functional without being leased to Synapse creatures. Instead, Synapse buffed all units in range with Fearless, Feel No Pain, increased attacks/BS or stuff like that. Opponents would still have to “shoot the big ones” in order to win, but ‘Nid players would have more tactical options instead.

          I think that idea in general is what horde armies (Tyranids, Guard, Orkz) could all use: units that buff rather than making them suck less (looking at you, Commissars!)

  4. Jural January 23, 2017 1:32 pm #

    Good write up! For me, the Tervigon is now strictly back in the “I guess I may field it in some lists” column and away from the “No point in even having the model” column after the Ob Sec FAQ.

    Honestly speaking, this was the only such “create a unit” rule where I felt the ITC blatantly went against the RAI. I know it wasn’t malicious, of course… but the rule always seemed clear to me… and it’s not like that was what was keeping Nids off of top tables!

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