Hello everyone, Danny here from TFG Radio to talk about the lowliest of the bugs, the cannon-fodder of cannon-fodder, the Termagant! Be sure to check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner for more awesome articles on everything in this insane game.
The Termagants are the most basic bros of basic bros. Their job is to die and to die well. While they come with a load of options, you want to send wave after wave of these little bugs until your opponent reaches their pre-set kill limit and deactivates.
Fleshborer – Range 12 S4 AP 5 Assault 1
For every 10 Termagants, one may replace its Fleshborer with a Strangleweb (Template S2 AP- Assault 1 Pinning)
Any model may replace its Fleshborer with: Spinefists (Range 12 S3 AP- Assault 1, Twin-Linked), Spike Rifle (Range 18 S3 AP- Assault 1) or Devourer (Range 18 S4 AP- Assault 3)
The unit may take: Adrenal Glands (Furious Charge and Fleet) or Toxin Sacs (Poison 4+)
As per the fluff of the Tyranids, each organism, even the lowly Gant, has the ability to be tailored to specific threats. At their stock kit, a point shy of a nickel, these little bugs still bring a close-range bolter, and when you have 20 or 30 shots, this can actually add up to some decent wounds. The Devourer Gant (also called a Devil-Gant in some circles) brings lots of the dakka with 3 shots at S4, and when you think of even 20 of these little bugs pumping out 60 shots at BS3, that’s going to equal wounds. The Spinefists and Spike Rifles are free, but well, S3 shooting without Poison or Rending or some other way to spike through wounds just doesn’t cut it. The Strangleweb is almost unheard of in play, but with the rise of Genestealer Cult and all their shenanigans, having a template weapon, even S2, in a unit isn’t a terrible idea. Probably not ideal though unless you are sure you are going against GSC.
With Adrenal Glands, you get S4 Gants on the charge with a reroll to charge, but really, if you want real combat punch, Toxin Sacs is the way to go. Poison 4+ really lets the Gants threaten just about any standard unit and even Monstrous Creatures as the volume of attacks that need a flat 50% to wound is pretty good. Heck, with Toxin Sacs, these little bugs threaten even Riptides as they hit on 3s and then wound on 4s, and with enough little ones, even a 2+ with a Feel No Pain roll isn’t going to stop all the heat.
As per usual though, this gets pricey, but we’ll talk about that more in a bit.
Move Through Cover: Roll 3d6 for Difficult Terrain
Instinctive Behaviour (Lurk) – Unit can fall back, unit can only shoot if in terrain and cannot charge, or the the same as the previous but with Stealth.
The Scuttling Swarm: For every unit of 30 Termagants, you may take a Tervigon as a Troops choice.
So the little bugs are a little light on rules. Move Through Cover comes in handy a lot actually, especially since bugs live and die on cover saves, so being able to move through it a bit easier really helps. It is easy to forget, but you need to remember as it can be clutch in the late game. All Instinctive Behaviour sucks to fail, but at least they don’t eat themselves, and if they fall back, you can get them closer to Synapse and have them auto-rally. Sometimes, Gants want to charge though, so it can suck to just have them sit there and crack off a few shots. As discussed with the Tervigon, The Scuttling Swarm opens up a lot of cool options as having an Objective Secured Tervigon can really help as can just having more and more little bugs. Just remember that if the Tervigon dies, all the little Termagants around it are going to feel the pain. Also don’t forget that the Tervigon gives the gants counter-attack, so suddenly, charging that tarpit is a dicey play.
So, what do we do with this ever so humble cannon fodder? There are a few builds of course:
Good old objective campers. For under 50 points, you get 10 Obsec bodies. While they won’t do much, they can fill out minimum Troops choices (if you don’t like cutting points with Mucolids), and they can hide around an objective for the game. This is honestly not ideal unless they were spawned for free by a Tervigon. You can also go stark naked and just take a big mass of 30 to bubble-wrap objectives or tie up enemy units. If you stay cheap, you can get 30 of these suckers for the same price as a naked Carnifex. While they won’t do too much damage (except in shooting as 30ish bolter shots can still do work), they will likely take time to die, and that’s what you want them to do: just stay in the fight and get in the way. Even 20 gants bubble-wrapping an objective means that your opponent has to commit more than a bare minimum squad to take it, and that can be the difference between a win and a loss.
The Devil-Gant can wreck some plans if used correctly. A Devourer doubles the cost of a Termagant, but giving each Gant a S4 3 shot gun at 18 inches is not at all terrible, especially when you consider taking a squad of 20 or 30. You don’t have to give them all Devourers, so you can take a squad of 30 with 15 Devourers so you have some room to absorb casualties while the Devourers march up the field and lay down some suppressing fire. 15 Devourers is 45 shots, which is a fair amount of Dakka for a single unit, especially a unit that is likely Fearless if within Synapse and possibly with a bonus to cover saves from a Malanthrope/Venomthrope. You can also do the Spore of Doom with 20 Devil-Gants in a Tyrannocyte that drop down and pump out 60 shots into someone’s backfield, and for any rear armor AV10 vehicle, that many shots can be scary. Using Hive Commander, you can also try to Outflank these little babies, and with an 18 inch range plus 6 inches of movement, they threaten up to 24 inches of the side of the table. I like Devil-Gants in the Endless Swarm Formation with a Tyrannocyte as I can drop them into the fight, have them die, and if they come back, they have enough range that they may still contribute to the rest of the game when they walk on from my table edge.
You can also go full melee Gants and give them Toxin Sacs for a respectable jab. This comes out to 2 points per model cheaper than Hormagants with Poison, but with a bit less speed and less attacks. If you want a melee tarpit that has the chance to actually wrack up damage, this is a good way to go, and well, a big unit of 30 Gants that can hurt a lot of other units that is Obsec is not a bad thing at all. For the same price as a Hormagant with Poison, you can get Termagants with Furious Charge, Fleet, and Poison 4+. If you want a really big melee unit, this can certainly do it as S4 Poison can really start to ruin people’s day although I’d prefer the Hormagants for their speed. That said, again, having a Tervigon around means that this little combat tarpit will have 2 attacks each regardless of whether it charges or gets charged.
So what’s wrong with the little bugs? Well, really, nothing that you wouldn’t expect. They are a horde unit, so they die like horde units. They are only T3 with a 6+ save, so they are even easier to kill than standard orks. There is so much S6 shooting out there that even with Feel No Pain, you aren’t getting much protection, and with all the Ignore Cover abilities, they are likely dying in droves. To be fair, they are supposed to die like crazy as they are meant to be an endless sea of claw and chitin, but with how much shooting is amped up in this game, it is not entirely difficult for a lot of armies to wipe a unit quickly. The one saving grace here: They care not at all for Grav weapons, so they can march right at those Centurions and just tie them up forever (or maybe eventually kill them depending on upgrades).
If you start loading them up, they get expensive, and again, they have no upgrades that actually increase their survivability, so if you start doubling their initial post cost, you are spending twice (or even three times) as many points on a model that dies just as easy when it was half or a third of the cost. To put it in perspective, a fully loaded Devil-Gant with Poison and Furious Charge is about the same cost as a standard Tactical Marine, and the Marine is going to live a lot longer (except against Grav). You have to find a sweet spot for them, and you have to tailor them to do a specific job: If you want lots of S4 dakka, give them a Devourer and that’s it, but be mindful that 20 Devil-Gants and a Tyrannocyte is not a cheap investment. If you want a pure Obsec Tarpit, give them nothing but your fondest wishes. If you want a melee horde that can surprise some folks, I’d go only with Poison as most other assault elements are going to hit them first, so the Furious Charge isn’t as important.
So, are these little babies really worth it in a competitive list? I say yes, if you are not going 5-6 Flyrant spam. To really make the typical Tyranid builds work, you need to save points everywhere you can, so this is why Mucolids are just so much more common, but I think a savvy player can easily dark horse an event with a list that cuts down on the Flyrants and uses these Obsec hordes to great effect. Endless Swarm would likely be a top-tier formation if it gave the Gants Obsec, but maybe our Godot-like Decurion will grant them this. Granted, a Termagant heavy list may lack some of the Skew-Power of Flyrants, but it will certainly be able to play the mission far more.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and maybe you can try out some Termagants and see how they do for you, and as always, check out TFG Radio.
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