40k 8th ed Codex Review: Tyranids Part 1

Hey everyone, Reecius here with a smokin’ hot review of the new Tyranid Codex! Follow me on a journey of horror as we explore the depths of the hivemind…

As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles, reviews and lists.

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Wow, another absolute gem of a codex! Games Workshop has been hitting it out of the park these days and this is no exception. Much like the Eldar Codex (which you can read the 3 part review of here, here, and here) the Tyranid dex really changes things significantly for the Nid enthusiast. From big points adjustments, stat tweaks, rules changes and of course, the addition of the all important 8th ed Stratagems, Relics, Warlord Traits and Hive Fleet Adaptations–AKA “Chapter Tactics”–to allow you a degree of customization never before seen in a Tyranid army. It really is an exciting time to be a bug player, and for those of us who’ve been fighting the good fight with them for years like I have, get ready to get pumped as you’ve got more options and combos available to you than you’ll know what to do with. Let’s get to it!

Army Wide Special Rules

  • Synapse: <Hive Fleet> units automatically pass morale checks if within 12″ of any friendly <Hive Fleet> units with this ability.
    • The signature Nid rule, and as good as ever. 

  • Instinctive Behavior: Your units are at -1 to hit in shooting unless shooting the closest enemy unit and are at -2 to charge if not charging the closest enemy unit when more than 24″ away from a friendly <Hive Fleet> unit with Synapse.
    • Instinctive Behavior is dramatically reduced in impact from the last edition and is now not so crippling as it was. Huge improvement!

  • Shadow in the Warp: Enemy Psykers subtract 1 from their Psychic tests while within 18″ of a unit with this rule. Tyranid psykers are not effected.
    • Great ability for combating enemy psykers. Tyranids have LOTS of ways to shut down enemy psychic powers.

These are mainstay abilities but absolutely fantastic. Synapse gives you incredible control over your units and helps to combat enemy psychic powers which in this 8th ed meta are linchpin components of many list strategies. If you can put the kibosh on Warptime, Prescience, Quicken, Doom, Null Zone, etc. it can win you the game.

Warlord Traits

  • Alien Cunning: After deploying your Warlord but before the game begins, you can re-deploy them.
    • This is a great tool for faking out your opponent by deploying your Warlord in a spot that will entice your opponent to counter-deploy to face them. Then, you pull him away to a better location, leaving your opponent’s units out of position. This trick works even better if you put your Warlord in a position that forces your opponent to counter him or leave themselves vulnerable if you do not use the ability. Imagine it is chess, and you have a piece in position to take two of your opponent’s pieces, leaving them only the choice of which they lose.
  • Heightened Senses: Your Warlord ignores penalties to hit (but still Overwatches on 6’s).
    • This is a fantastic ability and remember, it works in melee and in shooting. For taking out all the Ravenguard, Flyers, Alaitoc, etc. in the game, and to counter many special powers that impact melee, this is great. It is particularly useful on Shooty Flyrants
  • Synaptic Lynchpin: Your Warlord’s Synapse range is increased by 6.”
  • Mind Eater: Each time your Warlord slays an enemy Character, a friendly <Hive Fleet> unit within 3″ can move and advance as if it were the movement phase.
    • There are a number of ways to get extra movement in this codex, this obviously being one of them. You can make a Tyranid army extraordinarily mobile if you choose to.
  • Instinctive Killer: Choose a unit type before the game begins, your Warlord re-rolls failed hits vs. that unit type. Example, Tactical Marines, etc.
    • In formats such as the ITC where you pick your Warlord Trait between games, this becomes awesome as if you find yourself facing say, an Orc Horde, choosing Ork Boyz as your target makes your Warlord much more efficient. 

  • Adaptive Biology: After the first phase your Warlord takes a wound, for the remainder of the game reduce the damage inflicted by 1 to a minimum of 1.
    • Considering how many wounds your average Tyranid Warlord has, this is actually a solid choice, particularly for melee Warlords.

Some solid options in there! I personally am drawn to Heightened Senses and Alien Cunning. With Alien Cunning you can plop your Flyrant down in a great position to hit some key enemy units if you go first, maybe even luring your opponent into moving our of position or to counter that unit. If you end up going second, put him in reserves! If you go first? Attack! It’s a no lose proposition. Interestingly, this is also the trait the Swarmlord comes with. If you have solid terrain in your deployment zone, this is another great ploy, as you can put him out in the open in a great position, and if needs be, put him on the other side of the table or behind cover. It allows you to start him on the table without having to use a Tyrannocyte.

Heightened Senses is pretty self-explanatory, and is especially powerful with the increase of armies that rely on that -1 such as Alpha Legion, Alaitoc, etc. It is very effective on the Flyrant (who is most assuredly back, baby!) as stated earlier. With dual Devourers or Deathspitters, he can mow through infantry ignoring penalties (which includes those from advancing, too, making this threat range massive) but it gets really exciting with the vastly improved Heavy Venom Cannon, Stranglethorn Cannon and the relic versions of these which get VERY powerful. We’ll dig into these further as we go, but get hyped for shooty Tyranids!


  • Psychic Barrage: 1 CP, If 3 units of 3 or more Zoanthropes are 6″ of one another, instead of casting any psychic powers, they can opt to use this stratagem, allowing them to pick a point visible to and within 18″ of all three units. All units within 3″ of that point take 3d3 Mortal Wounds on a 4+, adding +1 for units of 10 or more models and subtracting -1 for Characters.
    • This is mega powerful if you can pull it off, but it sure is not easy to pull off without a big investment of resources. For one, you can take a Tyrannocyte for each brood of Zoanthropes, but that obviously gets expensive. A much cheaper way to do it, is to use The Enemy Below stratagem for Jormungandr and you can deliver them quite easily into position to blast the crap out of someone! The only downside is that as soon as you lose a single Zoanthrope, it stops working, but boy, what a potential alpha strike, particularly deadly to MSU armies. 

  • Caustic Blood: 1 CP, roll a D6 every time a model in the affected unit is destroyed in the Fight phase and on a 6, the enemy unit takes a Mortal Wound.
    • Outstanding! This is such a solid, no-brainer stratagem to use on things like Hormagaunts and Termagaunts who die in droves, tie enemy units up or act as screens. You know these little buggers are going to die, so take the enemy down with you for 1 measly CP. This is especially baller with Termagants backed by a Tervigon as they can regenerate!
  • Rapid Regeneration: 2 CP, a Tyranid unit in your army regains 1D3 wounds at the end of the movement phase.
  • Scorch Bugs: 1 CP, +1 to wound rolls for the selected unit’s Flsehborer or Fleshborer Hive shots.
    • A fantastic and cheap boost for your Termagants or Gargoyles, but also for a Tyrannofex with Fleshborer Hives who if it remains stationary may fire twice, which amounts to 40 strength 5 shots (re-rolling 1’s to hit if also Kronos) at a +1 to wound which will put quite the hurting on anything. This is a nice reason to take that weapon option!

  • Feeder Tendrils: 1 CP, use this stratagem when a Genestealer, Lictor, Toxicrene or Venomthrope from your army kills a Character in the Fight phase. Gain D3 Command Points.
    • I read this and think about the Starship Troopers movie! But, this is a no-brainer to use if applicable (pun intended, yuck!). 
  • Implant Attack: 1 CP, use this stratagem after a unit from your army has fought in the fight phase. Roll a D6 for each enemy unit wounded but no killed (excpet for vehicles) on a 2+, that model suffers a Mortal Wound.
    • You ever found yourself in a situation where you went all in to kill an important enemy model such as Magnus, and fell short of killing him by just 1 wound? Well, now you can take them down that final notch! Also, great for dropping a unit with a degrading down to level or for just continuing to damage a unit you need dead.
  • Bounty of the Hive Fleet: 1/3 CP, your standard “get more goodies” stratagem for additional relics.
  • Metabolic Overdrive: 1 CP, you may move a Tyranid unit a second time in the movement phase, including Advancing, but for each model in the unit on the roll of a 1, they take a Mortal Wound. This unit may then not charge or shoot.
    • Game winning stratagem. Movement is the phase where the master of the game wins the game, and anything that increases movement gives you more options. Move blocking key enemy units, grabbing objectives, denying objectives, taking up space to deny areas to deep-strike, etc. A great stratagem.
  • Single-Minded Annihilation: 2 CP, At the end of your shooting phase, select a Tyranid Infantry unit, that unit may shoot again.
    • Again, an amazing stratagem. A unit of 30 Devouerer equipped Termagants for an astounding 180 strength 4 shots, re-rolling 1’s to wound and possibly to hit as well if a Tervigon is nearby. However, that is just once use. Hive Guard shooting twice is devastating, particularly with Kronos, or even Pyrovores, Tyranid Warriors with Deathspitters, or Biovores. Brutal.
  • Grisly Feast: 1 CP, used in the morale phase, if your opponent is within 6″ of one of your Ripper Swarms or a Haruspex they add 1 to their test.
    • A situationally useful stratagem. If you need to finish off a unit and they’re in danger of failing, this can be what gets you that Kill Point or what have you.

  • Pathogenic Slime: 2 CP, add 1 to the damage of a Tyranid Monster in your army during the shooting phase.
    • When it’s time to gun down a big nasty like an Imperial Knight or a multi-wound unit. Very powerful ability especially when you consider you cna fire twice with things like a Tyrannofex or Exocrine. 
  • Sporefield: 3 CP, used after deployment but before the game begins, you can place up to two units of Spore Mines on the battlefield more than 12″ away from enemy models.
    • This is stupidly powerful. If you find yourself facing lots of deep strikers or something similar, and you find yourself going second, you can deny your opponent anywhere to land. Or, if facing off against Alpha Legion or Ravenguard infiltrators infiltrate first, this can completely shut them down. Great tool.
  • Invisible Hunter: 1 CP, select a Lictor from your army that is within 1″ of enemy models. This model can leave combat and shoot and still charge.
    • A very good stratagem but on a fairly meh unit. Lictors are mostly good for filling out a Brigade and playing to mission objectives. This stratagem is best used in a situation where you need to leave combat and make a run for an objective.
  • Power of the Hive Mind: 1 CP, a Tyranid psyker in your army that manifested a psychic power may attempt to manifest another.
    • Again, great stratagem if you really need to Smite someone in addition to using two other powers. 
  • Pheromone Trail: 1 CP, allows you to set up a unit of Infantry from your army out of reserves within 6″ of the Lictor and more than 9″ from enemy units instead of their normal method of deployment.
    • This seems like a weird stratagem until you realize it can bring a unit on with the Endless Swarm stratagem. Sneaky but perhaps not always super useful!
  • Death Frenzy: 2 CP, used when a Tyranid Character from your army is slain, before being removed they can either fight or shoot again.
    • Amazing stratagem. Especially for Nids who have very powerful shooting and melee characters. 
  • Overrun: 1 CP, if a Tyranid unit in your army destroys an enemy unit in the fight phase and are not within 3″ of any enemy units, they can move (and advance) as if it were the movement phase.
    • This one doesn’t come up that frequently, but when it does it is amazing! The extra movement shenanigans this army is capable is crazy. You can kill a screen unit and then move up to block enemy units, go on to an objective, deny an area for enemy units to move into, or move back to screen your own units! It’s awesome. 
  • Voracious Appetite: 1 CP, when a Tyranid Character attacks in the fight phase, you can re-roll failed wound rolls.
    • Clearly and amazingly awesome! Needs no explanation. 
  • Endless Swarm: 2 CP, when a unit of Hormagants, Termagants or Gargoyles is destroyed, you can bring them back on the table within 6″ of a table edge (or from a Lictor using the Pheromone Trail stratagem) and 9″ away from enemy units. Assume this costs points just as with the Valhalla stratagem unless GW says otherwise. Special mention to Hydra, who can recycle any Infantry unit.
    • Simply amazing stratagem in non-matched play games, but still quite good in matched play if you build for it by including a Lictor or something similar in your army and bring the unit on the table in an unexpected location if your opponent destroys them. With Hydra, you can play an important unit like melee Tyranid Warriors ultra-aggressively and then bring them on from an unexpected angle where your opponent is vulnerable.
  • Adrenaline Surge: 3 CP, a Tyranid unit in your army may fight for a second time at the end of the fight phase.
    • Genestealers attacking twice? A Haruspex? Swarmlord? Yeah, lol, absolutely brutal.
  • Digestive Denial: 2 CP, after deployment but before the game begins, take away a terrain pieces ability to provide cover.
    • Not always useful but if you are playing a shooty bug list you will most assuredly love this one, esepcially if your opponent has deployed most or all of their army into terrain assuming it will increase their protection! 

Hive Mind Discipline

The Nids have some cool and very effective psychic powers to add into their chest of tools.

  • Dominion: WC 5, 36″, target a friendly Tyranid unit (regardless of <Hive Fleet>), that unit automatically passes morale and ignores Instinctive Behavior.
    • Not going to be useful all the time, but if you chose it it is especially great for keeping things like Ripper Swarms in the game when you need them.
  • Catalyst: WC 6, 18″, gives a friendly Tyranid unit a 5+ FnP save.
    • This is the mainstay, go to, always awesome power for bugs. You will most likely be attempting to cast this nearly every turn as your most important power. Save a CP re-roll die for this one in most cases.
  • The Horror: WC 6, 24″, the unit affected has -1 to hit and from their Leadership.
    • Another exceptional power and one of the most commonly used. 
  • Onslaught: WC 6, 18″, a friendly Tyranid unit within 18″ can Advance that turn and shoot with no penalties and still assault as well.
    • Again, awesome. For many Tyranid units with relatively short ranged weapons, this is a godsend. Hive Tyrants, Carnifexes, Termagants, Tyranid Warriors, etc. all vastly increase their threat range. But it goes truly ham if you use Swarmlord on them also, as they then can move and advance a second time, still shooting and charging! It creates mind mindbogglingly huge threat radii for your units!
  • Paroxysm: WC 5, 18″, an affected enemy unit fights last in the fight phase.
    • Again, not always useful, but potentially incredible when it is applicable. If you find yourself about to be charged by a unit like Mortarion or Khorne Berzerkers, for example, it gives your units that can be rather squishy with no invul saves a chance to thunder punch them before getting attacked. 

  • Psychic Scream: WC 5, 18″, the nearest enemy unit suffers D3 Mortal Wounds, in addition, if that unit is a Psyker you roll 2D6 and if the result is greater than their Leadership, they loose a psychic power.
    • Again, bad ass! In formats like the ITC where you can select powers each game, this is a lot better as if you find yourself facing a psychic heavy army like Chaos or Eldar, this can be a great choice. 

Some great choices here. The go to powers are Catalyst, the Horror and Onslaught, but, the others all have their place, too. The fun thing with Nids is that your main units are typically also Psykers and so you end up with casters in abundance as well as plenty of opportunities to toss Smites around in addition to the extra damage Paroxysm allows you to deal.

  • The Ymgarl Factor: at the beginning of each fight phase, roll a D3 and gain either +1 strength, +1 attack or +1 toughness.
    • This requires very little explanation, it is a great buff, particularly for a Character like the Broodlord or a melee Tyrant. 
  • The Reaper of Obliterax: replaces a model’s Bonesword or Monstrous Bonesword in a pair with a Lashwhip. On a wound roll of a 6+, the weapon inflicts double damage.
    • Another solid choice, and a great pick for a Tyranid Prime, or a Hive Tyrant kitted out for melee. On the Monstrous Bonesword this takes the damage up to a staggering 6!
  • The Maw-Claws of Thyrax: Replaces a model’s Rending Claws or Monstrous rending Claws. When the bearer slays an enemy model, it re-rolls failed hits in the fight phase for the rest of the game.
    • Obviously awesome despite it taking a second to kick in. However, on a model like a Broodlord, it gets mean!
  • The Norn Crown: 30″ range to ignore Instinctive Behavior.
    • Meh. Not bad at all, of course, but probably not going to get chosen very often. 

  • The Miasma Cannon: Replaces a Heavy Venom Cannon, same stats but automatically hits within 8″ and wounds non-Vehicle targets on a 2+.
    • This is a decent relic, although it will often be wounding on a 2+ anyway, and doesn’t really want to get within 8″ in most cases, however, most assuredly not a bad choice. 

Hive Fleet Special Rules

One of my favorite things about Tyranids is how hard it is to choose a Hive Fleet! They all have something cool to offer and the bug player will be hard pressed to choose. I have found that Nids really want to use multiple Hive Fleets for different portions of the army, but, also want lots of CP! It can be a tough balance to strike but in my mind, that is successful game design as you don’t want something that appears to be clearly better.


  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: re-roll failed charges.
  • Relic: Scythes of Tyran, replaces a models Monstrous Scything Talons, +1 strength, AP-3, 3 Damage, +1 attack, 6’s to hit generate additional attacks.
  • Warlord Trait: Monstrous Hunger, wound rolls of a 6+ in the Fight phase deal an additional damage.
  • Stratagem: Brute Force, 1 CP: used when a Behemoth unit completes a charge move, roll a D6 for each model in your unit within 1″ of an enemy unit, on the roll of a 6 (on a 2+ for Monsters), that units takes a Mortal Wound.

Wow, what a great combination of abilities! Behemoth is a great choice for a melee Nid army. Obviously, re-rolling failed charges army wide is bad ass, especially for units coming out of reserves like Hormagants with a Tyrgon, etc. which when combined with Adrenal Glands for +1 to charge rolls means you can play ultra aggressively. However, the stratagem is killer with a big unit like Hormagants or Genestealers, or even just Termagants. Combo this with the Caustic Blood stratagem and a wimpy little unit like Termagants can spell the death of Berzerkers! Or, use it on a unit like a Thornback Carnifex (oh, yeah, and there are LOTS of types of Carnifexes now, muahaha!) that potentially does D3 Mortal Wounds on a charge to Infantry and you can plow through some tough units like Bullgryn, or just take out even more Devastator Marines, etc. Also, the Warlord Trait combined with Toxin Sacs and you do an extra 2 Damage on a 6+ to wound. Take this with the Reaper of Obliterax and you do a mighty 8 Damage on a 6 to wound, lol! Or, take their relic, the Scythes of Tyran on a Hive Tyrant for example, and he goes up to Strength 8, and generates additional attacks in addition to getting +2 Damage if you want. This is all around, a great Hive Fleet for the “traditional” style Tyranid army.


  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: Questing Tendrils, roll 3D6 for advance rolls and take the highest. Additionally, units may leave combat and still charge.
  • Relic: Chameleonic Mutation, the bearer is -1 to hit from enemy shooting weapons.
  • Warlord Trait: One Step Ahead, your Warlord allows a friendly Kraken unit within 6″ to fight first in the fight phase.
  • Stratagem: Opportunistic Advance, 1 CP, double your advance roll (doesn’t work for units that Fly).

Again, a great set of abilities to build an army, or a detachment around. Leaving combat and being able to charge is stupid good, and often gets missed. But the tactical advantage it gives you is incredible, particularly for units that can fly such as Gargoyles or a Flyrant. I cannot tell you how frequently people forget you can do this, and thinking they’ve got you pinned down in melee are shocked to see you leave and go charge another unit! Additionally, the increased Advance rolls are great not only for units like Genestealers (who can advance and still charge) but for units trying to grab objectives or to get in to range to shoot. Pair this with their stratagem to double that number and things get loopy real quick as you roll 3D6, take the highest then multiply it by two, lol. Genestealers can go 20″ and then charge another 2D6″. Toss in the Swarmlord, and it gets bananas. However, it’s not just Genestalers, use it on any unit that has Onslaught on them and get a similar result. A unit of Tyranid Warriors with Onslaught and Opportunistic Advance can move and advance, fire normally, then charge, going potentially 30″, lol. Tyranids are FAST. Additionally, the relic is incredibly good, especially when combined with a Venomthrope or Malanthorpe for a -2 to hit. Kraken may not seem mega powerful at first glance, but on the table it provides the skilled player with incredible tactical options.


  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: Synaptic Imperative, 6+ FnP while in Synapse, doesn’t stack with Catalyst.
  • Relic: Slayer Sabres, replaces model’s Monstrous boneswords, same stats but also destroys enemy Infantry and Bikers that have been wounded by the weapon but not destroyed if a D3 roll is greater than their remaining number of wounds.
  • Warlord Trait: Perfectly Adapted, allows your Warlord a re-roll once per battle round.
  • Stratagem: War on All Fronts, 1 CP, if an enemy unit is engaged with a Leviathon unit that can Fly and one that cannot, Leviathan units that attack that unit re-roll 1’s to hit and wound.

Leviathan is nice and easy. You don’t have to build your list for it, you can take pretty much any list and simply make it tougher, which is solid. The Warlord Trait is essentially a free CP a turn and as their Stratagem also encourages a melee Flyrant, you should be using it often as you will find yourself in melee a lot to trigger it. Speaking of the stratagem, it is quite good as it impacts multiple units and gives re-rolls to all of them when attacking a unit you really want dead for only 1 CP. This is not a flashy Hive Fleet, but getting a 16.6% increase in durability and fun upgrades for a melee Flyrant makes it a very easy Hive Fleet to put on the table and have fun with.


  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: Adaptive Toxins, re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the fight phase.

  • Relic: Hyper-Adaptive Biology from the end of a phase in which the Warlord suffers any wounds, add 1 to its Toughness for the rest of the game.
  • Warlord Trait: Lethal Miasma, at the end of the fight phase, on a 4+ each enemy unit within 1″ of your Warlord take a Mortal Wound on a 4+.
  • Stratagem: Hyper-Toxicty, 1 CP, in the fight phase, choose a Gorgon unit with Toxin Sacs, they inflict an additional wound on a 5+.

This is another fun, straight forward Hive Fleet that is also quite good. Re-rolls of 1 to wound in melee is awesome, and requires very little explanation. However, a killer combo is so use Genestealers (or any unit with Rending Claws) that also has Toxin Sacs, and apply their stratagem when attacking a multi-wound model, and just shred them with not only the additional damage on a 5+ but also the additional chances to trigger it with the re-roll. This REALLY helps against vehicles and similar units. If you use the Warlord Trait and Relic, you can get your Warlord stuck in, dealing additional damage and getting tougher as it takes damage (which remember, you have the Rapid Regeneration stratagem to heal!). This Hive Fleet is great for melee oriented Tyranid army or detachment that wants to get the most out of any type of wound mechanism such as Rending Claws.

  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: Tunnel Networks, units with this adaptation that cannot Fly, and that didn’t charge or advance, count as being in cover. (All of those “ignores cover” tactics aren’t looking so bad now, are they…).
  • Relic: Infrasonic Roar, enemy units within 6″ subtract 1 from their Leadership.
  • Warlord Trait: Insidious Threat: Enemy units do not gain cover from the Warlord and units within 3″ of him.
  • Stratagem: The Enemy Below, 1 CP, allows you to set up an Infantry unit in reserves, and they can then emerge with a burrowing unit (Mawloc, Trygon, Raveners, Trygon Prime) so long as they are wholly within 3″ of that unit.

I think you can make a strong argument for Jormungandr being the strongest Hive Fleet for a TAC style army. The reason I say this is that it gives you good offense and defense. Counting as being in cover is great if you find yourself going second or just for shooting units that are camped out near something already giving them a -1 to be hit for some excellent defense on any table regardless of terrain. 2+ save Tyranids monsters is no joke. Couple this with their Warlord Trait who camps out with them to increase their damage output and you have a winning combo. Their absolutely awesome Stratagem allows you to put units anywhere on the table and then when it comes time to hunker down on objectives, can do so even in the open and increase their defense. As there is no limit on what types of Infantry units come in using the tunnels, you have loads of options including Venomthropes for more defense, or Pyrovores, Tyranid Warriors, etc. It is an extremely flexible rule set.


  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: Swarming Instincts, re-roll hit rolls for Hydra units that outnumber their opponent in the fight phase.
  • Relic: Slimer Maggot Infestation, replaces a models Deathspitters with Slimmer Maggots, same stats but gives you re-rolls to wound.
  • Warlord Trait: Endless Regeneration: at the beginning of each of your turns, roll a D6 for each wound your Warlord has lost. On a 6+, he regains that wound.
  • Stratagem: Endless Swarm, as explained above.

This is a solid combination of rules and abilities and, obviously, is geared towards a horde style of play. There are quite a bit of tricks available to you but for me, it screams to be used with a Tervigon who makes very good of the Warlord Trait due to having 14 wounds, and can regenerate Termagants, who benefit a great deal from Swarming Instincts. Also, obviously, any large model count unit does quite well and Genestealers, Hormagants, etc. will become vastly more powerful with these buffs. Lastly, I really like their relic which when put on a unit like a Flyrant, makes it quite deadly. Generally speaking though, this makes for a good, aggressive small bug list.


  • Hive Fleet Adaptation: Bio-Barrage, re-roll hit rolls of 1 for Kronos units that don’t move.
  • Relic: Balethorn Cannon, replaces a Stranglethorn Cannon, same stats, but ignores enemy invulnerable saves.
  • Warlord Trait: Soul Hunger, whenever an enemy Psyker fails a psychic test within 18″ of your Warlord, they take D3 Mortal Wounds.

  • Stratagem: The Deepest Shadow, 1 CP, when an enemy Psyker attempts to manifest a psychic power within 24″ of a Kronos unit from your army, they take the test on 1D6.

Wow, these are some seriously bad ass abilities! First of all, that Stratagem is incredible, particularly when combined with the Warlord Trait and Shadows in the Warp. They can just shut down the psychic phase if positioned correctly. Many armies really rely on their psychic abilities and as such, this provides a very powerful defense. A Flyrant deep-striking in can greatly disrupt enemy psykers and to a lesser extent, so can a Trygon Prime, etc. The re-rolls of 1 to hit in the shooting phase if you hold still is incredible for units like the Tyrannofex (who can now get 6 strngth 10, AP-3, D6 damage shots!), Exocrine (who likewise can shoot twice if he hold still and use the Pathogenic Slime stratagem to really crank up the damage), Biovores, Hive Guard, etc. to tremendous effect. Kronos, more than many of the other Hive Fleets, really wants to be a Spearhead detachment and pack in some heavy hitting ranged units with perhaps a Hive Tyrant to drop in and take advantage of the incredible psychic defense they have to offer. And that Balethorn Cannon vs. the right enemy is awesome, Daemons, Harlequins, etc. are all terrified of this thing!

Whew! Part 1 is now done, stay tuned for part 2 inbound very soon!


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About Reecius

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

59 Responses to “40k 8th ed Codex Review: Tyranids Part 1”

  1. Avatar
    Chris November 4, 2017 10:07 am #

    Welp, now I’m facing some tough choices for Hive Fleet Adaptations! MY Genestealer/Tervigon/Gaunts-heavy roster can benefit from several of these, Hydra, Kraken, Gorgon………literally drooling right now!

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 4, 2017 10:18 am #

      Yeah, this dex is so fun! Lots and lots of options.

  2. Avatar
    Horton November 4, 2017 10:46 am #

    These all look really good!

  3. Avatar
    The wookiee November 4, 2017 11:14 am #

    So far So good. Very excited. I am hoping for a dramatic points reduction on the tervigon to make it viable.
    I doo like the idea that jormanganger could take a broodlord with genestealer in the Trygon tunnel now. It was always a bit hard to get the bloodlines up there.
    Very sad the endless swarm isn’t great for matched play because it’s very thematic for nods.

    • Avatar
      The wookiee November 4, 2017 11:16 am #

      Sorry, a bit of autocorrect in there

    • Avatar
      Blight November 4, 2017 1:17 pm #

      At least they can come in from any board edge. The guard one can only come in from your own edge which is far less useful.

  4. Avatar
    NovaStar November 4, 2017 11:19 am #

    45+ feel np seems harsh lol

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 4, 2017 3:14 pm #

      Doesn’t work very often, lol =P

  5. Avatar
    Brakhal November 4, 2017 11:40 am #

    Looks like we get some fun things, but I’m still not convinced it will be that great of a ‘dex.

    The Lictor, for instance, was an enormous disappointment. It has always been one of my favourite units, but the index version is terrible and, even more important, tasteless. I was hoping it was going to get some new tactical tricks to disrupt the enemy or assassinate characters, but in the end it’s just a slot filler (and probably not even a good one, since 1 Pyrovore is a cheaper elite).

    Same goes for Tervigons, Haruspexes, Zoanthropes and some marginally usefull options. From what I saw from leaks, they only get minor tweaks (Tervigons and Zoanthropes) or remain the same with a cost reduction (Haruspex get a big cost reduction, but it is still an armless chasis).

    On the bright side, Warriors look better than ever, there’s a lot of fine-to-good stratagems, and Fleets range from interesting to really fun.

    It’s out of arguing that ‘nids will get better with the ‘dex, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Personally, I don’t want slot fillers, but real options bringing flavour to the table. Same goes for some of the bigger monsters: they need to be something more interesting than harmless T8 wounds.

    • Avatar
      Jural November 4, 2017 2:37 pm #

      Speaking from an index perspective (and none of the info so far indicates any changes-

      -I think Zoanthropes are underrated.

      -Tervigon in particular is disappointing, as it has so many synergies. The problem is that 14 W and T8 with a 3+ just isn’t that durable. Sure, on average it takes 9 lascannon shots to mow it down, but one Bobby G later and it’s 3 lascannon shots, Now that’s fine if it had a Leman Russ point cost, but it costs almost double, has an almost zero damage output shooting or in melee, and does ablative damage to nearby Termagaunts upon death. Unless it ends up costing about 125 to 150 points, it is a curious choice at best.

      -Maleceptor, Toxicrene, Hive Crone, and Harpy are all pretty much garbage as well… As are Skyslasher swarms. Sporocyte… well, that isn’t a real option is it?

      -Lictor is pretty useless unless filling out a detachment. But with a lot of the abilities and synergies from the various Hive Fleets, I still will use him. Great model too.

      I think the rest of the Index is pretty good. Old One Eye is meh, the Tyranid Alpha is meh, and really Tyranid Warriors are meh. But all fairly costed and interesting in the right builds.

      Nothing I’ve read so far makes me think we will feel different about any of the units above, but I’ll be glad to be wrong!

      • Reecius
        Reecius November 4, 2017 3:14 pm #

        Jural, you are so negative, lol.

        • Avatar
          Jural November 4, 2017 4:00 pm #

          No way! This is the best position we have been in for a long time as Tyranid players.

          We are literally coming off an edition & codex where the Hive Tyrant was the only seriously competitive unit, and we needed a bunch of formations to field as many as possible.

          Now we have 3 or 4 good options in every slot

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 5, 2017 6:35 pm

            I was just teasing you, buddy =)

        • Avatar
          Jural November 4, 2017 6:40 pm #

          I am excited for your unit review tho- I wonder if you see any of those units as competitive… the more options the better…

          I’m still debating if the Dimacheron is worth it this edition… love that model… the Hierodules always in cover… lulz!

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 5, 2017 6:37 pm

            Yeah, it is awesome, I love it. So many good options. I should have that done tomorrow, had a busy weekend or it would already be done.

          • Avatar
            Chuck November 6, 2017 1:19 am

            I think that Old One Eye is a sleeper hit. Put the Behemoth Relic on him, on the charge he is doing 6x Str8 attacks, rerolling 1s, hitting on 2s, with each roll of 4+ giving him 2 bonus attacks (due to the +2 to hit from Charging and Alpha Predator). Not including his tail, he could get off 18 hits. After he kills his charge target, you consolidate 3” into the next high value target, then you use the 3 CP “fight again” stratagem to kill the next guy.

          • Avatar
            Vybert November 6, 2017 3:03 pm

            Get on the stick Reece. I’m waiting over here 😉

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 6, 2017 3:04 pm

            I know, sorry! I have been frickin slammed.

          • Avatar
            Isaac Minarik November 8, 2017 8:51 pm

            Jural, just tested two Dimachaerons in a game with the Kraken rules. They put the fear of god into your opponents, let me tell you. You can move one 20 inches in a typical advance, 26 with a command point.

            That speed lets them get at the things your opponent really doesn’t want them getting at. They’re still not the toughest or killiest things around, but they go where theyre not wanted, and put in serious work.

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    The wookiee November 4, 2017 12:35 pm #

    Agreed, so sad for the tervigon. 50pts less then a swarm Lord, what a joke

    • Avatar
      crispy86 November 4, 2017 2:30 pm #

      They’ve hinted at some point adjustments. Maybe the Tervigon and Lictor will drop a little in points in the dex?

      • Avatar
        Jural November 4, 2017 2:43 pm #

        My hope too, but I haven’t heard any rumors to that effect.

        Honestly my problem with the Lictor isn’t cost, it’s only being fielded 0-1.

        • Avatar
          Chuck November 5, 2017 5:50 pm #

          No points reduction on the Tervigon, very sad… 🙁

          • Avatar
            Jural November 5, 2017 8:13 pm

            Disappointing… such a cool model and interesting rules. I’ve been shoehorning them into my list since they ruled in 5th (6th.).

            May need to finally retire Miss Tervy

  7. Avatar
    PrimoFederalist November 4, 2017 2:17 pm #

    Shouldn’t have called them “Hive Fleet” tactics – it’s ridiculous from a fluff perspective to have them all mixing together like that. But que sera sera…

  8. Avatar
    Jural November 4, 2017 2:41 pm #

    My only hope for this Codex is that it would take a pretty fun Index and give us a few rules to have fun with, some stratagems worth hording CP for, and maybe a new lease on life for a few of my favorite units (Tervigon, Lictors, Hive Tyrants.)

    Honestly, it’s going to exceed those expectations.. I just hope the Lictor and Tervigon have some unknown boosts!

  9. Avatar
    Parzaius November 4, 2017 5:10 pm #

    Great codex, super excited about 8e’s options!

    Only two real complaints:
    1. The stuff that was already good got better (tank bugs, genestealers) while the stuff that really needed a little extra were largely overlooked (Tyranid Prime, Gargoyles, Tervigon)

    2. The Psychic powers leave a lot to be desired. Is it so much to ask for an offensive buff?
    – Catalyst is sexy, but so limited! If only it affected the caster as well, as it did in previous editions.
    – Horror is fantastic (though overshadowed by GSC options).
    – Onslaught is wrought with timing issues held over from previous editions. I have to choose to Advance in the Move phase now, instead of shooting, so I have to commit to an Advance, which can hinder my shooting or lock me out of charging BEFORE I know if the spell is going to be successfully cast.
    – Paroxysm is going to need an FAQ, because as written, it seems to check for “abilities that allow striking first” to simply move to regular initiative order, rather than dead last. Is Charging counted? From Reecius’ write-up, it seems like it’s intended to throw Charging units to the bottom of the Initiative count, but if not, then the charging player can just choose they affected unit to go first on the normal count anyway, making your spell pointless.
    – Dominion would’ve been amazing if Synapse weren’t so strong, Pretty pointless now.
    – Psychic Scream is good as a second ‘smite,’ with a funny bonus ability, but isn’t exactly earth shattering.

    As far as this analysis goes, I noticed something that struck me as odd:

    “[Hydra] screams to be used with a Tervigon who makes very good of the Warlord Trait due to having 14 wounds, and can regenerate Termagants, who benefit a great deal from Swarming Instincts.”

    … but Swarming Instincts only applies to the Fight phase. Termagants, with their 1 attack at strength 3 and 0 AP are possibly the unit that benefits the least from Hydra in the entire codex. Now, if it applied to SHOOTING as well, my goodness, we’d actually have a stew going. Not only would Termagants be rocking face, but Gargoyles, forever stuck in the “not good at shooting, not good at melee” purgatory would actually get a lot more mileage.

    Who knows, maybe Hydra will be patched to include bonuses to shooters who outnumber their targets down the line (though that would be hard to balance against, say, Hive Guards shooting tanks, I suppose). Maybe just change the whole thing to “Hydra units of 10 or more reroll all hit rolls against units with fewer models.”

    Ain’t gonna happen, but a man can dream.

    • Avatar
      N.I.B. November 5, 2017 12:19 pm #

      How about Hive Crones and Harpy moved to Flyer? That’s an ass move.

      • Avatar
        Parzaius November 5, 2017 8:18 pm #

        Never bought the model, never used ’em before. Certainly not gonna buy it now, but no skin off my back.

  10. Avatar
    maraach November 4, 2017 6:04 pm #


    so do you have to pay for the spore mines in the spore field stratagem? I assume so. If so it seems a bit expensive when other armies can set up berserkers next to you for 1cp. If they are free the 3cp is justified.

    • Avatar
      Blight November 5, 2017 3:43 pm #

      Don’t spore mines have a rule that says you never pay points for them in matched play when you create them?

      • Avatar
        Chuck November 5, 2017 5:55 pm #

        They changed the language on the Spore Mine. You now only get free ones when they are made by units, not stratagems. Since that is the case, that spore mindfield CP cost is extremely situational, and you need to build/prepare other ways into your list to spend those RPs, just incase you are facing a bad matchup (for the minefield.)

        • Avatar
          Jural November 5, 2017 8:14 pm #

          Tyranid can actually play the RP game now at least. In the Index you Tervigon better live or they were wasted, full stop

        • Avatar
          N.I.B. November 6, 2017 7:42 am #

          No can do. Sporefield is Tyranids only method of ‘infiltrating’ units before turn 1, outside Forgeworld (Mieotic Spores).

          • Avatar
            Chuck November 6, 2017 11:47 am

            I am actually a little shocked about the Minefield stratagem. To fully use it, you need 180pts of RP, which takes those points out of your pool for filling out your ForceOrg. Not having that 180pts might cost you 1 or 2 CPs from your build.

            So in effect, do you want to gain 4-5 CPs by not playing the minefield?

            As for pushing back the enemy, why not just include Aux Detachment of GSC Scout Sentinels? You only have to pay 1 CP and 135pts.

            To me, it seems like these books are being made without any though to the “reinforcement rules” for match play.

  11. Avatar
    Dbiesto November 4, 2017 6:34 pm #

    Being completely new to tyranids after playing since 3rd edition, Im so excited! Going to see how people are fielding them in upcomig tournaments with results before finalising my paint scheme but it seems like at least 2 hive fleets should be taken competitvely. Now I just need to figure out what is the best option for my playstyle, they all seem solid to buff certain units.

    Im leaning towards a Kronos >9 wound model to fully exploit that psyker negation with long range support in a spearhead. Kraken swarmlord with hormagaunts seem solid. Behemoth trygons with genestealers/ dev gaunts seems powerful now also to melt enemies for 1 cp. It all seems pretty solid and encourages mixing hive fleets.

  12. Avatar
    abusepuppy November 5, 2017 5:47 am #

    They really hit it on the head with the Hive Fleets- I think this is the first time I’ve looked at the list of subfaction choices (Legions, Chapters, etc) and said to myself “All of these look like a viable choice for one or more different armies.” Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.

    • Avatar
      Jural November 5, 2017 10:06 am #

      Yeah- the adaptations themselves range from meh to just OK, but the overall list of relics, stratagems, and warlord traits form an awesome collective.

      I felt they did this with a couple of choices in the other books, but there is really only one Hive Fleet load out I wouldn’t use

    • Avatar
      C-Stock November 5, 2017 5:22 pm #

      But…. Reece promised that Biel-Tan was “stupid good” on the podcast…


      • Avatar
        Jural November 5, 2017 5:46 pm #

        I like Iyanden, Aliotec, but think Biel Tan are serviceable. But Eldar have some winners and losers, as do CSM, SM. Without seeing the Nid Dex, I think Nids have only one subpar choice, IG, 2?

        Not sure why Reece gets so much hate for promoting Birl Tan…

        • Reecius
          Reecius November 5, 2017 6:32 pm #

          Me either, lol. They’re great but hey, if others don’t think so that is fine.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy November 6, 2017 5:11 am #

          I don’t “hate” him for it, if he wants to play then that’s obviously totally fine And there certainly are worst subfaction bonuses out there (Iron Warriors and Saim Hann, for example), but on a page for a competitive tournament organization that posts a lot of content about tournament play, calling them “great” feels like a vast overstatement.

          I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to be annoyed if you oversell how good things are going to be to them, because when they finally find out where things actually lie, it’s a lot like pulling the rug out from under them. If you were told back in 6E “Hey, Tervigons are gonna be great trust me” and then saw what they actually did, you would have every right to be ticked off.

      • Avatar
        N.I.B. November 6, 2017 7:44 am #

        He also said Tervigons recieved major buffs…

  13. Avatar
    DirtyDeeds November 5, 2017 6:25 am #

    I have a feeling that Tyranids will shift the gun line meta.

    • Avatar
      Dbiesto November 5, 2017 8:44 am #

      Gun lines will be very effective still, but depending on tyranid fleet they will have to prepare differently. Missile launchers, flamers, screens will still all be effective, but if/ when they get through your screening units its going to be a lot of repositioning. A few dakkafexes mixed with hiveguard/ devourer gaunts taking out the screens turn 1 with trygons coming in from reserve bringing in the swarms turn 2 seems extremely powerful due to how tanky fexes they are. I cant wait to see more Barrle Reports once everyone has access to the codex to figure out the most effective combos.

    • Avatar
      Jural November 5, 2017 10:09 am #

      Good Tyranid generals will have a lot of options for gun lines, heavy vehicles, psykers, etc. But will they hold up in a TAC environ?

      It will be a fun challenge to figure out in this edition. The toolbox is there, if the prices are adjusted, even more so

  14. Avatar
    Wuffell November 5, 2017 1:57 pm #

    I’m going to have to look up fortifications and see where to fit them in… If sporo ends up good for its points. I can’t even remember which detachments use fortifications lol.

  15. Avatar
    Krukmakarn November 5, 2017 3:36 pm #

    A few things really stand out to me. Kronos warlord trait is probably one of the most powerful in the game right now. first spell they cast, use stratagem and they take 1d3 mortal wounds as they pretty much autofail. Thats one blocked spell + that caster is at about 1-2 wounds left, which means he cant cast a spell again while inside the evil bubble of 18″. Morty and Magny will have to lose one of their buffs every turn + take several mortal wounds during a battle. Superpowerful!

    6-man units of hive guard firing twice!?, sign me up, rerolling 1’s to hit firing twice is about 20 hits str 8 ap-2 1d3dmg ignoring line of sight, cover, and a whopping 36″ inch range. Love doing this with obliterators, hiveguards do it better! even with the new badass rupture cannon for tyrannofex i’d still rate this higher as hiveguards have more reliable BS. The new tyrannofex flamer with 2/4d6 shots is where it’s at for those guys:)

    Tried a game with kraken 2 days back, double your advance is incredible!! no need to worry with sentinels blocking deepstrike, just run across the board and first turn charge anyways:D swarmlord one unit, double advance one unit and you can have 40 genestealers first turn charging straight across the board.

    Another idea for a powerful doomdrop is having 2 trygons, 1 with 9 warriors with deathspitters, 1 with tyranid prime (alternatively if you dont want 2 trygons go for kraken double advance or jormungandr double tunnel) put adrenal glands on everything. first, double tap the deathspitters for 54 str 5 ap-1 shots at bs 3+ then charge everything in, at 8″ charge you have about 60-70% chance to hit the charge with 2 trygons 9 warrs and a tyranid prime, throw catalyst on the warriors and that is 27 wounds at 4+/5+++ to chew at for your opponent.
    some cases you might want to go for the fight 2 times stratagem so you can take a tank hostage or something similar to go immune to shooting altogether.
    very evil, very evil indeed:)
    you could ofcourse go with kraken here and bring swarmlord up the board for 1 commandpoint, then you can move before charging for an easy 2″ charge. Could be good if there is too much bubblewrap, d-spitters just take out the wrapping and swarmlord casting catalyst and if you get onslaught you will move 12″(kraken average advance is 5! +1 for adrenal) average after shooting to get to the really soft targets, at that point surrounding a tank to go immune to shooting is easy (just remember to keep some warriors out of the combat so you dont kill it)! should that still not be enough just use the kraken double advance again and move 17″ inches after shooting up the wrapping, at this point you litterally cant miss a charge on anything. and you have probably tied up just about every tank the enemy has:D!

    deathspitters are now 5 points, and good meleeweapons are 2points, this doom can range from supercheap to pricey depending on whether you think swarmlord is worth the extra 12″/17″ move after shooting. Tyranid stratagems or superpowerful, going for alot of commandpoints could be very strong for tyranids (making Tyranids/GSC/astra militarum a good option for the badass relic/trait combo in militarum for loads of commandpoints).

    I can see a variety of strong plays with tyranids now, I think they need every commandpoint they can get to shine though, going brigade/ triple battalion nids / nids, cults, astra militarum is likely going to feel just right to get the most juice out of this.

    • Avatar
      Jural November 5, 2017 8:24 pm #

      If you invested in both Trygons, just go Behemoth and that charge is 83%, really better if you are willing to use the CP re-roll on results like a 5+1…

      But a lot of what you might be shooting will more than 9” away with that many shots unloaded… nice way to take out a Knight or Daemon Primarch though

  16. Avatar
    crispy86 November 6, 2017 12:40 am #

    Hey Reecius,

    How would you recommend running Carnifexes? I just picked up 3 and thought I would ask before locking an option in.

    Thanks in advance for the help!

    • Avatar
      Jacob Kielhorn November 6, 2017 1:59 am #

      Magnetize them buddy they have so many strong options dont just settle for 1

      • Avatar
        crispy86 November 6, 2017 7:46 pm #

        Yeah, you’re probably right. I shall do that. Thanks Jacob

  17. Avatar
    Luke November 7, 2017 12:54 pm #

    Hey Reece the lictor strat can be used to bring in a unit on the same turn that the lictor comes in, right?

    • Avatar
      Chuck November 11, 2017 5:25 pm #

      I would say so.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 12, 2017 5:30 pm #

      It only specifies that the Lictor must already be on the table, so I would say yeah although it is a bit muddy. I can ask, though.

  18. Avatar
    sevrilkestra November 10, 2017 5:56 pm #

    Why does the article say a unit with the onslaught ability on them be moving and advancing twice? The rule (according to what is on here) says in the turn not in the phase so doesn’t that mean a unit would only benefit from onslaught if it advanced during the movement phase?

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 12, 2017 5:29 pm #

      It would trigger in conjunction with an ability that lets you move twice like Swarmlord’s Hive Commander ability.

  19. Avatar
    Chuck November 11, 2017 5:24 pm #

    Reecius! Thanks again for all of your previews.

    I have a question and/or a potential rules abuse tactic, with regards to the Gorgon Strategem. You posted: “Hyper-Toxicty, 1 CP, in the fight phase, choose a Gorgon unit with Toxin Sacs, they inflict an additional wound on a 5+.”

    From the wording, with that stratagem, could you use it to allow a Str 3 model to successfully wound a T8 model on a 5+? Normally, on the damage chart, you need to roll a 6+, but to do additional damage, I assume you are also doing the base damage.

    How would you rule that (lets say you got pulled over as a TO) to judge that specific issue at a tournie?

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 12, 2017 2:19 pm #

      Hmm, interesting question. I don’t think that is what was intended but I totally see how you could read it that way. I will have to poke around a bit on that.

      And glad you’ve been enjoying the articles!

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