Tyranid Codex Review: Elites: Lictors

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here again to go over one of the most commonly spotted Elites in the Tyranid Codex, despite the fact that they are supposedly super sneaky: The Lictor!  Of course, go on over to Frontline’s Tactics Corner for all the cool tricks.


The Lictor is the assassin species of the Hive Fleets, a creature capable of infiltrating deep into enemy lines to take out VIP and High-Priority targets, all while also guiding in further reinforcements, so you get a bit of kill and a bit of skill in one package.



Rending Claws – AP 5 melee weapons that grant Rending.

Scything Talons – Generic melee weapons that pair with the claws for +1 attack.

Flesh Hooks – Assault Grenades and a Range 6, S6, AP- Assault 2 gun.

So the Lictor is one of the only bugs that doesn’t get any real upgrades or options. It is set menu here, but it does have all that it needs.  With Rending and assault grenades, this bug can threaten just about anything, and you can take them in units of 3, so suddenly, they are pumping out 15 S6 rending attacks at WS/I6 on the charge. Not bad at all.  Also, 6 S6 shots isn’t terrible either, especially coupled with their special rules, so hitting Rear Armor isn’t too hard.


Special Rules:

Chameleonic Skin: No scatter on Deep Strike for this bug

Deep Strike: We all know what this does, and with no scatter, you are always on target.

Fear: Ok, not the greatest special rule, but against Tau, Eldar Scatbikes, or AM, it can come in handy.

Fleet: Always nice to be able to reroll the charge on a melee character or even a run to get deeper into cover.

Hit & Run: Being able to disengage from a combat is super important.

Infiltrate: Lictors can start way up the board and this combos very well with Pheromone Trail.

Pheromone Trail: Friendly Tyranids do not scatter when arriving from Deepstrike when the first model is placed within 6 inches of a Lictor.  It must be on the board at the start of the turn for this to work.

Instinctive Behaviour (Lurk): If Lictors  are out of synapse and fail a Leadership 10 check, they may fall back, or they may have to seek cover to be able to shoot and can’t charge. Boo.

Move Through Cover: No dangerous terrain checks and rolls 3d6 and picks the best when moving through cover.

Stealth: Always nice to have +1 to cover saves.

Very Bulky: If somehow being transported, it counts as 3 models.

Wow, that is a lot of special rules, and overall, Lictors win for the most things to remember in this department for the codex.  The big features are obvious: Pheromone Trail is absolutely essential if you are trying to bring in any deepstriking bugs like Mawlocs or Gargoyles.  Chameleonic Skin is also wonderful for keeping these bugs in reserve and then sending them to deny or even claim objectives anywhere on the board.  Stealth helps keep the Lictors alive a bit longer as they only have a 5+ armor save and are only T4, so sticking them in ruins helps as a 3+ cover save is likely their best defense. Their IB can suck, but at Ld 10, they are not very likely to fail, so you can safely send Lictors just about anywhere you need.


So, what do here?  Well, the most common setup is to use Lictors in an MSU style as beacons for Mawlocs.  By infiltrating lone lictors all over the board, hiding them out of Line of Sight, you can get some pretty decent coverage of the board to ensure that Mawlocs hit exactly where they need to hit.  This radically increases the value of the Mawloc, and well, having a bunch of Lictors running around means that your opponent is going to have devote time and resources to dealing with them rather than focusing on Flyrants or the Mawlocs.  MSU Lictor spam also helps offer some ground control for Flyrant builds as a lone Lictor has a decent chance of grinding out a scout squad or minimum Scatbike squad off an objective.

You can really double down on this and just not even take Mawlocs and have 4 to 6 Lictors running around just to deepstrike in and start harassing objectives.  The ability to land exactly where you want every time with deepstrike is not to be underestimated at all.  You can also go a bit different and run packs of Lictors to act as some more heavy-duty damage dealers.  With WS6, 4 attacks base, I6, 3W, and S6, a unit of 3 Lictors is actually a semi-legitimate fighting force that hits hard, hits first, and can even absorb a few wounds before losing any combat effectiveness.  Being able to deepstrike anywhere means you can really choose where and how to leverage these bugs, and they threaten vehicles just as much as light infantry.  S6 rending can theoretically damage anything short of a Warlord Titan.  For an even dollar, you can take a squad of 2 and use them as objective hunters, targeting weak backfield units.   You don’t see this often, but that doesn’t mean it is viable.


So what is wrong with the Lictor? Well, it lacks durability.  At T4 with a 5+ armor save, anything with ignore cover is going to hurt, and S8 means *pop*, so that’s bad. Without good rend rolls, Lictors can easily get stuck against decently armored opponents, and well, S8 powerfists aren’t rare at all.  You definitely can’t just throw them into any fight and expect them to win.  They need to be used with finesse, so operator error is a real concern here.  It is easy to get overconfident with them, and any exposed Lictor is likely going to die, and hell, even a Lictor hiding in ruins and Gone to Ground will still likely get picked up by any dedicated firepower. Then again, they are relatively inexpensive for what you get, so if your opponent dedicates heavy resources to them, that means your other units have less heat on them.

So are Lictors competitive? Absolutely.  They provide a lot utility, they pair well with our best units, and they are self-sufficient.  What more could you ask for?  If you love them, try them in larger hunting packs to start messing with backfield objectives.  It may not be as efficient as Lictorshame, but well, it is fun.  Thanks again for reading, and be sure to swing by TFG Radio.


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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.

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