40k Tournament Report: iNcontroL’s Hive Fleet Goliath at NOVA Open

Hey everyone! Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson here with another super loose retelling of my games at NOVA in September. I took Tyranids to the invitational as well as the open tourney and faced off with some of the brutal field that such a great tourney has to offer. Want to hear more? Check it out down below!

First and foremost my list and some thoughts on it:
Battallion 1:
HQ: Swarmlord
HQ: Malanthrope
Troops: 23 Hormogants with adrenal
Troops: 23 Hormogants with adrenal
Troops: 1×3 Rippers
Tyrannocyte with stranglers
Biovores 1×3
Biovores 1×3

Battallion 2:
HQ: Broodlord
HQ: Malanthrope
Troops: 1×3 Rippers
Troops: 1×3 Rippers
Troops: 1×20 Genestealers with rending claws
1×3 Hiveguard

This is a list that is designed to take advantage of the NOVA terrain specifically the “L” shaped LoS blocking terrain each table features. If I can scoot closer to my opponent with a scuttling horde of Hormies that tie my opponent up while I clamber in with the hard hitting Genestealers / Swarmlord. If I can get on top of them with these units, I can win. Beyond that I aim to pump them with some mortal wound generating Biovores who sit on home objectives and threaten midfield vehicles with the Hiveguard. Generally the Swarmlord takes catalyst and horror as he can get rather defensive with his OK saves and the WL trait of an additional 6+ save on wounds AFTER the invul or regular save and his FNP. Broodlord can take onslaught for some move buff to the Hiveguard who otherwise become a bit ineffective when they move OR the Biovores in a pinch.

After NOVA I ended up writing lists without Mawlocs. I love them but far too often they pop up kill a few guys or do some unimportant damage to a storm raven and then immediately and easily die. For 105 points that isn’t really devastating but it just wasn’t super great. I’d rather have another block of Biovores who do similar damage but more safely and for a longer period of time. I also ended up filling all my lists with rippers. They are small and mobile with their DS ability as well as being the cheapest single troop choice for Tyranids = AWESOME. Also: I will almost never play a game without Swarmlord not necessarily because he is the best ever but because he is my favorite character/model in the game. I love him.. and he is pretty good!

The GAMES (my recollection of these games is fuzzy since this was awhile ago but here we go!)

Game 1 of Invitational: Nids vs Brad Nichols Astra Milatarium / Guillamen + devs

So first game of the invitational was vs a very strong player and all around great guy in Brad Nichols. His list was conscripts, some artillery, Guillamen with devs and a few funny forgeworld things like automated cheap las cannon gun turrets.

My army was basically made with Guillamen gun lines in mind since this is and was all the rage. Rerolling everything turns out to be super good! We had a bit of a spicey start to the game since Brad didn’t agree with my movement (and he was probably right.. I might have snuck a few inches in there on accident) and then didn’t enjoy me trying to squeeze mawlocs/spore mines in spots he felt couldn’t fit. Fair enough! As a Tyranid player if you give me an opening I am going to try and cram like 50 million things in those 6.75 inches as hard as I can.. read that as you will. To be fair he ended up dropping 3 orbitals on me this game and played them without LoS or the movement restriction so I guess we got even haha. This game DID highlight what I love about Mawlocs and that is they make your opponents deployment a pain in the butt. I was able to snipe out a few characters/key heavy hitters because he deployed them close together and gave me multi hits between the two terror worms. Combined with the long range of the Biovores I was able to take down his damage output and make his subsequent turns not nearly as scary. The game was close but with me securing a lot of my mission objectives early on and tying him up with my lil guys I was able to just sit on a lead and win the game. Swarmlord got in there and won his first duel of the weekend with Guillamen.. this would happen many times throughout the tourney! I ended up winning 13-6 and gave something for Brad to tell everyone about all weekend…

Game 2 of Invitational: Nids vs Brad Chester and his.. wait for it.. Guillamen gun line featuring 2 stormravens, conscripts, devs and scouts maybe? Oh and like Celestine and some mortar teams / artillery.

SO FUN! Two games and two very similar armies both of which are centered around the ultra (huehue) fluffy concept of rerolling everything! Guillamen was cut in half and stomped out 1 game prior but wouldn’t you know it? Cawl made that darn armor so well he showed up again in game two with a much scarier list. STORM RAVENS.. Nids can’t do anything about them. Nothing.. we don’t have the tools other armies have and when they sit behind a screen and just hover their with Guillamen palming each of them you just have to cross the zone and hope to not die in a hail of gun fire. This game was mostly me sitting behind LoS waiting for my moment and him shelling me mostly ineffectively for a portion of the game. My moment to strike happened when he moved a Raven out and I was able to charge it with Swarmy (he was hovering) I jump in and do 5 wounds with my bad ass leader and Chester made 4 of 5 6+ saves… WHAT. I end up not being able to withstand the counter fire. To be fair I probably would not have been able to do much regardless but that Raven represented a large part of his firepower and had I killed it we could have had something interesting.. but this is the invitational and it’s single elim so I shook hands made some jokes and packed my things after it was fairly clear I’d just be doing that anyways for the next 2-3 turns.

Game 1 of the Open: Tyranids vs Matt Schucman and his Ynnari shenannigans

Woah! Round 1 and I get paired with a very successful tourney player in Matt. His list was interesting too! He had the Ynarri avatar dude, cat lady, a LOT of spectres (like 3 units, 1 of 10 and 2 of 5 or so?), some shining spears, razor flocks and a few more psychic hooligans as well as some dark reapers. On paper I was fairly confident since I out ranged a lot of his firepower and while he hit hard I knew if he came to me I’d get a few rounds of shooting in and then pounce on his soft eldar belly. That was the plan… it was going well too! I was really shocked at the durability of the shining spears.. the multi wounds and various power bubbles making them harder to hit or wound was really strong. I also LOVED matt’s strat of throwing the birds forward begging for me to kill them so he can drop in his Avatar who is a wrecking ball. This game was one of my favorites all weekend long as Matt was an incredibly fun/kind/gracious opponent while being really intelligent and skilled. I had my moments but unfortunately with my army needing to make charges into those spectres EVENTUALLY I was just losing too many models. On top of that the Avatar and the various abilities to either cast power from death on him OR just get it from the natural death/killing of something was a mind-game I couldn’t keep up with. One pivotal moment was my Swarmlord butchered a unit of reapers and then jumped in to tie up another unit of Shining spears but he was able to hop away with his ability and leave the Swarmlord in the open to be shot up. I had caught most of the tricks but this one slipped by. We ended up with a close game but Matt took it and I learned a LOT!

Game 2 of the Open: Nids vs Greg Sparks’ Tau featuring 4 commanders, a million drones and the Tau’Nar supremacy suit

This game was again against another fantastic opponent who.. had never played Tau before. He was at Gonyo’s house the day before and asked to borrow some Tau stuff on a whim and took it to NOVA.. wow! It was also at this time I learned NOVA  had no power level restriction as I was facing a 1200 point big boy.. WHAT. The Tau’Nar is super nasty btw. You can’t fully tie it up AND it gets savior protocols so any shooting you put into it will bounce off and grab drones instead IF it even wounds him anyways. On top of that commanders pack a punch and show up where they want.. so I was nervous! My game plan was pretty simple.. feed the Tau’Nar as many bodies as I can to keep it occupied. All game long I marched in lines and lines of hormies, genes, mawlocs and even the Swarmlord. By the end of the game I did around 11 wounds to it.. 7-8 of which were from the Mawloc who was in combat with it for 4 turns (both sides) WHAT? Yeah.. I dunno. The Swarmy swung for 2-3 turns and did 0 damage while the Mawloc which sucks in combat was wounding him for 1-3 wounds each time lol. At the end of this game I kid you not.. I killed 1 commander and 4 min units of drones… he killed virtually everything save for a Malanthrope, 1 biovore, a few rippers and a handful of hormies. I won on objectives which even that was close but at one point I needed to make 3 6+ saves on a single biovore for him to live.. I picked him up and then went, “you know what? Watch me roll 3 6’s..” half jokingly.. and I DID IT. It was important too haha. Nids went on to win a close game with me killing less than 300 points of models while only have a couple hundred alive.

Game 3 of the Open: Nids vs Deathguard (pre mortarion) featuring blight drones, Typhus, Zombies, a few characters and 1 hell turkey

To finish day 1 I was against a really nice guy who was playing a smattering of Nurgle stuff. His list had more in it but I can’t really remember what was involved. I will say this is one of those games where you win because your opponent isn’t super familiar with Nids. It’s nice.. it happens fairly often for me. Now, I say this by the way not as a jerk. I explained my army and any questions he had I answered but unless you KNOW Nids facing them can be a bit daunting. “Mawlocs do THAT?” or “Swarmlord damage is WHAT?” kind of things.. the kind of stuff where if you face it you play very differently. So the Swarmlord carved a path running up the field his hell turkey got shot to shit and his army kind of melted over. We spent a nice amount of time talking strats and filling him in on some things he can do better. Game was a bit harsh for him and I think he was amped because he was doing well otherwise but we ended with a nice talk and hopefully a better idea of how to play against Nids in the future!

Game 4 of the Open: Nids vs Astra Milatarium featuring a  Baneblade, 150 conscripts, artillery and a few characters and drop guard units with hot shot/plasma

I was a bit intimidated when I looked at the deployments with SO many bodies and a big beefy tank but this was pre the new codex and that tank is pretty.. bad. It was the Hell hammer or something? Some scary single D6 shot and a bunch of lesser shots but all of which need 4’s and against nids kinda reliably needs 5’s which meant it did almost nothing all game long. The few times it would hit he’d roll a 1 or I’d make a save etc.. it was painful (for him). The game was pretty straightforward with me jumping into his ocean of conscripts and eventually piling into his heavy hitters and tying them up. His drop guard was again shooting into stuff like genes who would lose a few then munch him down. The name of the game here was “-1 to hit” from the Malanthropes. I hope the Tyranid codex has more of this or something because that is our secret sauce for right now. Pretty smooth win for the Nids against an odd guard list.

Game 5 of the Open: Nids vs Nurgle daemons featuring 13 malific lords, some heralds, nurglings, 40+ zombies or so and 900 points for summoning (more nurgle stuff).

Ok! Finally, one of the OTHER boogiemen of the tourney that isn’t Guillamen: the Malific lord. These guys are 40 points with a 4++ 4 wounds, access to smite and other powers with the added bonus of going to Daemon Prince stats if they perils.. wat. This game was going to be rough! He had a really cool list with a lot of flexibility but the basic premise was anything that hits his line of zombies will get smited into oblivion from 15 or so characters. My opponent deployed as aggressively as possible with the intent of doing just that but I had other plans.. I was able to seize on him which was surprise enough but then I had a BRUTAL first turn jumping on top of all his zombies and nurglings nearly killing all of them. I then dropped my mawlocs in and the Swarmlord behind his forces. I was able to consolodate into a number of Malific lords but the really devastating thing I was able to pull off was space out my forces so he literally had no suitable location to summon in any reinforcements. So with half his lords not doing anything and no ability to summon he was backed up and nearly dead. Avoiding tabling on the first few turns he ended up squeaking out a few units with summoning but he played the remaining 2-3 turns almost completely dead from the alpha strike. Smooth win for the Nids.

Game 6 of the Open: Nids vs Guillamen gunline with predator tanks, special whirlwind, couple dreadnoughts (shooty) and a few space marine bodies.

The final game and who else should we face but the man himself.. again. This game was a slog.. the terrain this time worked to his advantage. Everytime something peaked out and tried to grab some of his gunline it was annihilated after he backed out of the combat with whatever was available. Nids just simple cannot withstand rerolling everything space marine weaponry. So my plan shifted from “kill him!” to lets drag the relic away and survive. I barely did.. with the relic in hand and a tied maelstrom or something I was able to secure the game while, again, only killing something like 2-300 points of stuff? I think I got 1 dread and 2-3 units of scouts killed.. uhhg. He would have won but he fired a volley from his Whirlwind at a unit of rippers and failed to kill the final base on an objective that gave me a maelstrom AND linebreaker I believe.. it was amazing. Definitely got lucky on this one but I felt heroic considering I could not do ANY damage to him but still was able to rat out a win.

So the Nids end up 5-1 in the open and 1-1 in the invitational against some really good generals. I decided to not play the final day of the tourney as I was flying out that day anyways and I had had my fill of Warhammer 40k. Tyranids are getting a codex here in early November and I could not be more excited. I have been playing them since I was 12 which was 20 years ago and they are basically my favorite lore, aesthetic, concept. etc of all time. That said if this tourney hadn’t had really nice LoS blocking terrain I wouldn’t have won half my games. Nids cannot kill Storm Ravens or other tough flyers at all. It’s insane how bad they are at that.. the codex NEEDS to address that or they will remain a really fun but probably tier 2 army.

The big all stars for me were Biovores who each game did a LOT. Be it move blocking with their spores or just pumping out mortal wounds they always found a way to contribute. Swarmlord had his moments.. the Tau’Nar apparently is not his favorite battle but he was a big scary stick that gave out key powers and jumped into a number of melees while absorbing a lot of damage and dealing it back out.

I will happily read the comments and answer questions if you guys have any! Hope you enjoyed the write-up and I look forward to doing more!


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

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

19 Responses to “40k Tournament Report: iNcontroL’s Hive Fleet Goliath at NOVA Open”

  1. rvd1ofakind October 13, 2017 7:59 pm #

    Great write-up as always. But don’t ditch AdMech after nids codex 😀
    They want love too

    • iNcontroL October 14, 2017 3:18 am #

      Won’t ditch admech but nids are my blood!

  2. Beau October 13, 2017 8:39 pm #

    I like when you wrote how you won a game simply from opponent unfamiliarity with nids. I myself have never ever played against nids. I just don’t know where they game. Do you think DG could put up a much better fight now with Morty pretty much auto include in all their lists?

    • iNcontroL October 14, 2017 3:18 am #

      absolutely yes. His crowd control would be a nuisance beyond belief for nids. Would need to do some work to him and then assault with something like genes to get rid of him or maybe swarmy

  3. Julian X Houghtby October 13, 2017 9:12 pm #

    So with the armies inability to kill, alot of points in a few games, do you think it would be worth it to eschew killing potential and just take more bodies with malanthropes+biovores? I was working on a list with 180 termagants 60 hormies, 5 malanthropes and 12 biovores and this just seems to confirm that we lack the killing potential that other armies have so we take what we do have in bodies and the cheapest movement control without stratagem to take objectives

    • iNcontroL October 16, 2017 8:01 pm #

      That is a good list to be sure. I think Nids CAN kill stuff but specifically storm ravens and g man gun lines can be really really tough for Nids. Everything else I feel like I have options and a codex will only give me more tools for that.

  4. Blight October 14, 2017 6:59 am #

    TheTau’nar is a weird one. Doesn’t have fly and its titanic rules only allow it to fire at units within 1″ of itself with non-macro weapons. Tying it up is about all you can do and hope you live through the defensive fire. Wish it wasn’t BS 2+ for its first 2 wound brackets.

    • iNcontroL October 16, 2017 8:00 pm #

      Yeah the BS2 was killer. One of it’s guns is 18 shots at decent strength/ap was savage.

  5. TFG October 14, 2017 9:37 pm #


    • iNcontroL October 16, 2017 8:00 pm #


  6. Jesper77 October 15, 2017 11:30 am #

    Great read and Well played when facing much of the creame dela creame of 8th. I realy have high hopes for the nid codex. As of now many things are to highly priced, HQs with to many wounds, they realy should give Hive Tyrants 9W and we need tools for flyers. Try the hive crones. I wasn’t impressed with the stats but after playing it so love it 🙂

    • iNcontroL October 16, 2017 8:00 pm #

      It’s just that the Hive Crone won’t endure any fire at all >_< I like the damage output but Nids have too many targets that absolutely fold to one volley of anything heavy. I prefer my biovores/hiveguard that can hide behind LoS and then SOMETHING else to work down the big stuff. Otherwise I feel like it's go first or die which isn't a safe bet for a major tourney.

  7. N.I.B. October 16, 2017 12:08 pm #

    Eyy, thanks for the write-up Geoff! Nice to hear how things went down for your nids at NOVA and how you’ve changed your index lists since.

    Yeah Biovores are were it’s at currently, but I can’t be goaded into buying those old constipated Ork models, holding off any purchases for the impending codex. Until then, proxying Pyrovores as Biovores.

    Nids need their LOS blockers yeah. Around here the big TO’s don’t allow Forgeworld units so no Malanthrope crutches, makes AM matchups really hard without -1 to be hit.

    Swarmlord is kind of meh, he’s outfought by spammable Space Wolf venerable dreadnoughts with 3++ Blizzards shields, for less than half the cost. Which is what I usually face in local games. He’s a cool dude but a one trick pony.

    • iNcontroL October 16, 2017 7:58 pm #

      I am biased with Swarmlord.. I love him so much but yes his 173 point delivery system AND 300 point price tag can become an issue in some matchups where he doesn’t do that in return. That said I’ve won more than I’ve lost almost exclusively due to him. Invul, FNP, and 6+++ from WL trait is a pickle sometimes.

      • Herp Derpson October 16, 2017 9:56 pm #

        Agreed, that is how I usually run him as well. I generally just hide him in some terrain and just slingshot max units of genestealers across the board every turn. Works well against most opponents. Genes are definitely glass cannons, but with the occasional FNP they do pretty well ~55% save rate which is pretty nice.

        Anyways thanks for the write up. Always enjoy your stream and your 40k content in particular

  8. crispy86 October 16, 2017 7:16 pm #

    Great right up dude. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Cool looking list too, must look great on the table with the mawlocs and stuff. Looking forward to more reports in the future!

    • iNcontroL October 16, 2017 7:56 pm #

      Thanks and you got it man! Will write up more asap.

  9. Dbiesto October 17, 2017 7:20 pm #

    Glad to see Nids are doing decent. Bought a 30 hormagaunt lot to begin my own swarm literally the day you posted this BR. Even if they dont do good this edition, theyve been one of my favorite armies, cant wait for that dex.

    • iNcontroL October 17, 2017 8:20 pm #

      They will be good and only get better with the dex! Enjoy!

Leave a Reply