Tyranid Codex Review Part 7: Dedicated Transports, Flyers and Fortifications

The Great Devourer is upon us, and in part 7 of this review we dive into the Tyranid Dedicated Transports, Flyers and Fortifications to explore what they have to offer! Be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & Part 6 of this review if you missed it.

Sorry I am a bit tardy on this but we’ve been slammed here at FLG, and I just couldn’t find time to write. But, we’re back, baby! As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles, reviews and lists.

And, if you would like to purchase any of the items shown in this article, you can do so through Frontline Gaming’s web-store at a discount every day and we offer FREE shipping on orders over $99 within the continental USA!

A little late, but here we go! The final units in the Tyranid codex for your consideration.

The Tyarnnocyte is the Tyranid Drop Pod for all intents and purposes. It delivers a unit of bugs from orbit to the battlefield. Unlike a Drop Pod though, it has considerably more firepower and can carry up to 20 Infantry or a single Monster with 14 or less wounds. Also unlike a Drop Pod, it can move after landing on the battlefield making it quite a bit more versatile. It’s also fairly durable with toughness 6 and 12 wounds, with a 4+ save. Often, this means it doesn’t get shot unless it is the only viable target. It’s offense–while significantly better than a Drop Pod–isn’t going to win games on its own. It is WS and BS 5+, but if you arm it with Bardbed Stranglers (and you should) they get +1 to hit when targeting units of 10+ models. As these weapons are 36″ range, assault D6, strength 5, AP-1, they’re quite good for clearing out screens as you’re pumping out 5d6 shots. You can opt for Deathspitters instead to save points, or up-gun to Venom Cannons but with the BS 5+ I would not suggest this. As is, the Tyrannocyte is a bit expensive, weighing in at 148pts with 5 Barbed Stranglers. That’s not cheap, but, you get a lot for that investment and it is an extremely common way of delivering Swarmlord to the table. More than just putting him where you want him, it keeps him off of the table safe from being alpha struck. However, it is also a great way to deliver other, powerful units into a good position such as a Tyrannofex, or a Haruspex, etc. You can use it to deliver Genestealers too, which is quite nasty especially when combo’d with something like Swarmlord’s Hive Commander ability to make them move twice and essentially assure a charge. The real question to ask yourself though is: why take this over a Trygon or Trygon Prime? The answer for me is you do so only to deliver a Monster into battle as the Trygons are better for deliver Infantry as they are generally better than the Tyrannocyte, and have no limitation on unit size for the little guys. But, if you want to deliver a big nasty into close range, or just keep them safe from the alpha strike then this is a solid investment.

The Harpy and Crone are interesting units. Much like the Heldrake, they’re in a weird place. They’re useful, but don’t scream power at you. Being in the flyer slot means that they don’t help fill out most detachments (outside of the Air Wing, obviously). However, they are FAST. That is their best asset and if you choose to use them in your list you want to leverage that. They both have a 30″ move, WS and BS 4+, strength and toughness 6, 12 wounds, and a 4+ save. They both are armed Stinger Salvoes and Scything Wings (strength 6, AP-2, D3 damage, re-rolls of 1 to hit), and the Harpy packs either 2 Stranglethorn Cannons or 2 Heavy Venom Cannons. With BS 4+, the Stranglethorn Cannons are a good choice for the +1 to hit against units of 10+. However, with the degrading BS as it gets hurt, you will drop down a bit as it takes damage to a 5+. The real benefit of the Harpy is its ability to drop Spore Mines on target it flies over, dealing Mortal Wounds to them on a 4+. However, if it misses, you create Spore Mines which are incredibly useful for move blocking units and generally being a pain in their butt. Lastly, the Sonic Screech ability means when it successfully charges, enemy units within 1″ of it cannot swing until all other eligible units have attacked. This is really useful for swinging existing combats in your direction as it allows all of your units to swing first. Especially for squishy little bugs, this can mean the difference between winning and losing a fight. And, like the Crone, with their speed if your opponent leaves a solid shooty unit exposed such as a Leman Russ or Devastator Squad, etc. the Harpy and Crone are excellent for tagging them in melee turn 1, and stopping them from shooting. If your opponent really screws up, with the big base these models are mounted on, you can tag multiple enemy units and stop them from shooting. Likewise, with that big movement you can fly over screening units to attempt to assassinate characters by making them the closest enemy unit, shooting them and then charging. With 3 base attacks and WS4+ this really only works on low wound characters but it is a tactic that can make hay for you. Alternatively, you can use the Harpy’s speed to stay out of enemy ranges and skirmish with him, picking things off at range and waiting till late game to hunt down small objective grabbing units.

The Hive Crone is similar to the Harpy but instead of long ranged firepower, it packs in a strength 6, AP-1, Assault D6, damage 1 flamer style weapon. It also has its signature Tentaclids which are assault 4, strength 5, 1 damage. Not so crazy, but they do re-roll failed hits against units that can Fly and if the target is a Vehicle on a wound roll of a 4+ you deal a Mortal Wound in addition to any other damage and on a 6+ to wound, you inflict D3 Mortal Wounds. Lastly, he’s got an additional bonus melee attack with his Wicked Spur, which is strength 8, AP-3, D3 damage. The Crone is obviously good for taking on Vehicles with Mortal Wound output but it is a bit luck dependent. However, if you have lots of Wave Serpents or similar units in your meta then this is a decent counter.

Both units are moderately competitive choices but you aren’t likely to see them at top tables without a strategy to leverage their abilities. It’s not their damage output that makes them shine, as stated, it’s their speed. Have them come in with a multitude of other threats to overload your opponent’s ability to deal with them, and then support other units.

The Sporocyst is an interesting unit. It is a fortification but unlike most, it can be deep struck on to the table before the first battle round begins. This can be really useful to try and counter things like Alpha Legion infiltrators, etc. Alternatively, you can just deploy it normally. Once down it is immobile, but it has some cool rules. For one, if within 12″ of a unit with Synapse it also gains the synapse ability. It also generates additional Spore Mines or Mucolids (and these do not cost points in matched play games) at the end of every movement phase which appear within 6″ of it and more than 1″ away from enemy models. This also means if enemy units are near it, and you create the mines within 3″ of them the Mines will automatically explode in the charge phase. Also, if you deep strike them as close as possible to enemy lines, their mines are going to be charging turn 1 if you want, and causing quite a bit of damage. Additionally, it’s Spore Node fires a single shot at an enemy unit within 9″ and if it hits, deals Mortal Wounds per the Mucolid rules, and if it misses creates another Mucolid or Spore Mines. That is a lot of potential Mortal Wound output and a lot of additional annoying little units your opponent needs to deal with. As the Sporocyst can still shoot even if enemy units are within 1″ of it, you can consistently pump the mines things out until it dies. At toughness 6 with 12 wounds and a 4+ save, that isn’t too hard to do if your opponent is hitting you with anti-tank weapons, but it will last quite a while vs. small arms fire. lastly, it also packs 5 other guns exactly like the Tyrannocyte and like it, I recommend the barbed Stranglers for range and the potential to increase your BS when targeting larger units.

At only 129pts with the Barbed Stranglers, that is not a terrible buy. However, where it gets really funny is in the fortification detachment where dropping 3 of them down before the game starts to block enemy deep-strikers and infiltrators, then spitting out mines every turn would be super disruptive to your opponent, particularly if they are playing an army that is trying to move up the field. Against some armies, if you go first, it will be extremely difficult for them to ever get out of their deployment zone until they can destroy the Sporocysts. This leaves time for your army to do its thing and in the right scenario will win you the game quite easily.

And there we have it! Tyranid codex review done and dusted. Thanks for reading along and I hope this advice has proven useful to you! What Tyranid units are working best for you?


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!

50 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review Part 7: Dedicated Transports, Flyers and Fortifications”

  1. Avatar
    rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 6:40 pm #

    Is “interesting” the keyword for “will not see any competitive play at top tables”?
    Also, I’ve compared the said Bloodthirster in the other thread to multiple other troops, which you can see in the resposes there.

    • Avatar
      rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 6:43 pm #

      “Both units are moderately competitive choices but you aren’t likely to see them at top tables without a strategy to leverage their abilities. ”

      I should’ve read thoroughly before saying this 😀
      But I guess the point stands as I’ve guessed that before reading it.
      Anyway, I really like the Harpy and Heldrake. They’re pretty durable and make you really focus on them or they wreck chaos.

      • Reecius
        Reecius November 28, 2017 7:12 pm #

        Dude, lol, at least read the article before throwing salt, holy crap, haha

        • Avatar
          rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 7:16 pm #

          I mainly wrote this respose becaues you didn’t read all the responses in the “compare BT durability”. I’ve compared it to multiple other troops. Feel free to check it out for yourself:


          It’s a link to the Excel file with instructions on how to compare stuff to other stuff.

          • Avatar
            Luke November 28, 2017 8:23 pm

            We’re not sure, but Reece might have additional responsibilities above and beyond reading these comments.

            It’s true that the harpy/hive crones are great for turn 1 charges, but I don’t know if the screening meta is ever going away.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 9:20 pm

            The problem is that he responded to the main comment without reading the comment bellow it, which has the answer to his response.(I compared BT to conscripts, cultists and Ork boyz there)

          • Avatar
            AngryPanda November 29, 2017 4:59 am

            Im as critical as you mate but I can’t possibly imagine anyone masochistic enough to check out mathhammer Excel sheets.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 29, 2017 6:44 am

            I mean, it takes 10 seconds to type in a unit. Open excel, (the durability sheet will be open). Type in unit name and stats – and BEHOLD! The bigger the number, the more durable the unit is.

          • Avatar
            NinetyNineNo November 29, 2017 7:32 am

            I write mathhammer Excel sheets in my spare time :C

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 29, 2017 7:49 am

            Same xD It’s oddly fun

        • Avatar
          Jural November 28, 2017 8:40 pm #

          I didn’t read the review, but instinctually I know Reece is saying the Hive Crone is a better force multiplier for Necrons than Robute Guilliam.

          It’s a bold take. Unexpected! And certainly not wrong.

          No. but seriously, this was a good review. I will nitpick and add my thoughts, but this whole series has been pretty awesome. Thanks!

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 8:47 pm

            Hey, Hive Crones are a much better force nulifier for Fistycuffs Kastelans obviously

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 8:48 pm

            Like, ah mah gawd, how did you miss that. It’s all in the math.
            Oh crap I forgot to write /j on the last one too. Fistellan! Uh.. I mean – shit! /j

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 29, 2017 10:29 am

            Lol, don’t steal my thunder, I am trade marking that tactic! =P

        • Avatar
          Cephalobeard November 29, 2017 5:23 am #

          I’m all for normal levels of salt, but I genuinely believe he’s not aware of how heavily he is constantly sperging out. Don’t worry, it’s not just here. It’s how he posts everywhere.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 29, 2017 6:45 am

            Yeah, check out Dakka. My actual goal is to turn the entire world into me – a manifestation of salt. /j

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind November 29, 2017 6:52 am

            Also, as I’ve stated. This was just an excuse to post on this thread to notify Reece of the post in another thread. It most likelly didn’t work but meh. I tried.

  2. Avatar
    Dakkath November 28, 2017 8:31 pm #

    Ok, I have to admit I like the idea of the sporocyst screen. Not sure how effective it is, but it sounds hilarious. Since they’re immobile, would you say kronos is better or worse for them?

    • Avatar
      Xenos Player November 28, 2017 10:39 pm #

      Or Jormungundur to give them a 3+ save

      • Avatar
        Dakkath November 29, 2017 2:40 am #

        You’re right, that is probably better.

      • Avatar
        crispy86 November 29, 2017 9:19 pm #

        I thought that ability only worked on thins without fly? I might be wrong, no codex in front of me

        • Avatar
          Jural November 29, 2017 10:20 pm #

          You are right, doesn’t work on models with fly, or advanced or charged.

          But the sporocyst doesn’t do those things!

          I think Leviathan and Jorgmundr are almost equal here in terms of surviveability

  3. Avatar
    GhostValley November 28, 2017 8:59 pm #


    I remember years and years ago when GW shut down their forums. I thought it sucked at the time but the arguing and harassment was very thick. Now I am amazed they ever opened themselves back up. I have read more venom and character assassination on this site in the last few days, then I think would total a years worth ( though the guard/eldar diorama art debate did get heated). But through it all you still can pump out a 7 part review of codex. I would have just taken my ball and gone home.

    Just wanted to thank you for continuing to pump out the content and that I am happy that you get a voice at the table with playtesting. I remember when you guys and the ITC were pumping out all the FAQs and missions during 7th, I literally would not play anything but your missions with the FAQs. I often hoped that GW would pay attention to “Reecehammer” and maybe sneak in an ITC change!
    I guess you can sign me up for my fanboy card and put me in the too dumb to know that I shouldn’t be having more fun playing 8th straight from the 40k rulebook than I’ve had since 3rd edition and the trial assault rules club.

    I know this is not the post to be specifically commenting on this as it should be about your tyranid review but I just wanted to sincerely say that I would have stopped playing 40k years ago if not for Frontline Gaming and I thank all of you for giving me so much content to look at when I’m at work and should be doing my job 😉

    • Avatar
      Blight November 28, 2017 9:16 pm #

      I’ve also been having a ton of fun in this edition and so has my group. Before 8th the ability to get a game of 40k in was waning. Very happy to have 2 GW game systems that I can regularly play and enjoy.
      Look forward to the full Ork codex.

      • Reecius
        Reecius November 29, 2017 9:59 am #

        Same here, we’re playing like 5x more often than we did in 7th, everyone is mega energized to play and having fun.

    • Avatar
      Laurence November 29, 2017 7:08 am #


      Reece, please please don’t let the insane amount of salt and keyboard-hate that is growing on the FLG forums put you off continuing to engage with the community

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 29, 2017 10:26 am #

      Damn, thanks for the kind words! That was really nice of you to say. We’re happy to have had a positive impact on your experience with the hobby.

      And yeah, we catch some shit but it is OK. I always tell myself if people didn’t care about it, they wouldn’t bother. So, even when people are venting negative emotions are way it is because they love the hobby.

      Thanks again for the very nice comment, we appreciate it.

      • Avatar
        Ghostvalley November 29, 2017 11:20 am #

        NP! Keep doing what you do.

  4. Avatar
    Blight November 28, 2017 9:13 pm #

    I think with the release of chapter approved and the earlier errata from the community website that boots on the ground prevents flyers from grabbing objectives. That would include the tyranid variety too right?
    I really need to get my spore mine loving friend to field sporicysts. They fit his style perfectly now.

    • Avatar
      rvd1ofakind November 28, 2017 9:22 pm #

      Every unit with the “FLYER” battlefield role can’t get objectives. Yes, that includes tyranid harpy and hive crone

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 29, 2017 10:20 am #

      Yup, totally spaced on that. I edited the article to avoid confusion. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. Avatar
    WestRider November 28, 2017 10:01 pm #

    The ability to spawn Mines even when there aren’t enemies nearby is the one thing I felt like the Index Sporocyst was really lacking.

    I wish I were able to get more games in. So much stuff I want to play with.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 29, 2017 10:23 am #

      That’s my issue, too and I do this for a living! So, so many list ideas I want to try that I lack the time for. And while I get more games in by a mile than most people, I still feel like it’s not enough.

  6. Avatar
    Xenos Player November 28, 2017 10:55 pm #

    Cheers for finishing Reece. I agree with the post above that you appear to be taking a lot of flak for the things that people don’t like in chapter approved. People complain to GW (that’s what I did) not a third party for trying to see the positives in what we got.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 29, 2017 10:22 am #

      Ah, it’s all good. Comes with the job. But thank you very much for the kind words, I appreciate it.

  7. Avatar
    Xenos Player November 28, 2017 10:57 pm #

    I’m a new Tyranid player and I like the idea of two harpies flying over characters and spore mining them out of the game. There isn’t anything about the character targeting with the spore mines right? The sporocysts also look fun and I’m glad you got time to finish the review as I wanted to see your opinion as someone who gets to play a lot more than me.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 29, 2017 10:21 am #

      Yeah, you can target characters with the bombs! And the Sporocyst thing is actually quite good, lol. You can totally screw up you opponents movement for at least a turn with it, it is funny.

  8. Avatar
    iNcontroL November 28, 2017 11:39 pm #

    Thanks for doing these reece!

  9. Avatar
    CovenantGuardian November 29, 2017 1:17 am #

    You can’t grab objectives with Crone/Harpy because they have the Flyer role now.

  10. Avatar
    CJ November 29, 2017 2:22 am #

    Man, id never even heard of half these units.. thanks for this, very educational!

  11. Avatar
    Wuffell November 29, 2017 3:25 am #

    Thanks a bunch for all these reviews!!!!
    I really hope people stop with the overly salty comments soon.

  12. Avatar
    Brakhal November 29, 2017 6:42 am #

    As I did with previous, I want to share my personal takes on them:

    – The Harpy is probably a bit overcosted (around 20 points), as his durability is not exactly great and his firepower, while versatile and decent, is nothing to write home about. Anyway, it packs a really fun kit with lots of different tools for different moments. Besides the turn1 annoyance tactic, wich will only be useful against and opponent badly deployed, a Harpy can keep the distances on the first turns, giving some fire support; then, in midgame, he can start bombing stuff and charging into key combats for the screech. I can see Harpies being good with the Kraken trait, and decent stratagem-triggers for Leviathan.

    – The Hive Crone looks terribe for me. While Harpies are a toolbox with lots of decent utilities, Crones are specialists with no way to deal effectively with what they are supposed to. Tentaclids are a worst than poor weapon against hard to hit flyers. They will hit and wound at 5+ against that kind of targets, and in the end, one round of tentaclids will do around the same damage a Biovore brood will against any flyer. Those numbers don’t get better at cc, as the Crone is one of that ugly WS4+ melee monsters, with just 4 D1d3 attacks, 3 of them wounding on 5+ to planes. Crones are not the right answer to any need. If at least they were able to use the spur multiple times against flyers, or tentaclids were a better antiheavy weapon, maybe they will.

    – The Tyrannocyte is fine, specially if you compare with a SM drop pod. Is not for any list, and is mandatory with the SwarmLord. My main problem deciding to include one is thinking on a right monster to put in, besides SL. If Toxicrines could have adrenal and/or range 12″ in both weapons it will be the perfect candidate, but that’s not the case. Perhaps a Haruspex as a distraction Carnifex, but I’m afraid his low offense will not distract effectively any opponent with Tyranid knowledge. A spray Tirannofex is the most interesting thing I can see to deploy with it, as the damage output of the acid is good, even with no dual shot at the arrival.

    – I don’t own any Sporocyst and I haven’t tried it in any game. I can see some advantadges fielding one or two to add more spore mines to the battflefield. There’s also a hidden advantadge for this fortress: as it is the only non standing Tyranid model, it can create a BLOS zone, or enlarge an existing one, in the midfield, to protect advancing infantry from enemy shooting. Is a win-win, as we don’t care if the enemy shoots hard this close-to-cheap-for-that-many-wounds model.

    • Avatar
      Brakhal November 29, 2017 6:57 am #

      I would like to add something now, as you’re done with the reviews. I think you’ve been optimistyc in the articles, but I never had the feeling you were being dishonest or contaminated in any review. I know there has been a lot of accusations against FLG objectivity lately, and surely that will keep going for a while.

      I think there are still balance issues in the game and, sure, mistakes were made during the playtesting, but that’s how everything made by humans work. A beta is to clean the big problems, but it is impossible that a beta version launches to the masses without some balance issues (and a few bugs).

      Anyway, thanks for the work put on the game, the reviews, and making ‘nids great again.

  13. Avatar
    The Traitor November 29, 2017 12:15 pm #

    Great article, I now have the weird feeling of wanting to play three sporocysts to mess up enemy alpha strike… With biovore spam as a gunline to really flood the table with spores… If I just had the time and money for playing every lost I thought of…
    Also I wanted to add myself to the people still loving FLG, I think that 8th edition is awesome and alot of people in my area have returned to the hobby thanks to it. While your reviews are a bit optimistic they’re just perfect for not hardcore competitive players and great to get an idea of how an army plays, even competitively. Also still way better than d4chan… And it is the only reliable complete compilation or army reviews and tactics that I know about.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 29, 2017 12:21 pm #

      Thanks man, that is awesome to hear. And yeah, that is exactly what I was aiming for: a review that got people excited to play but that also gave good information on how to make things work competitively. I really don’t like articles that just dismiss things without trying to come up with a way to make them work because there are people out there who have those models and want to use them.

  14. Avatar
    vybert November 29, 2017 8:08 pm #

    Unfortunately the Sporocyst is not a true counter to Forward Operatives issues with Alpha Legion. They have the same wording so are set up at the same time, which means a roll off. Its just as likely that the AL player gets to set up first and deny you the option to C-block them. The only reliable counter to AL infiltrate is Sporefield and that costs CPs AND requires you to hold the points out of your list to use it, even if you don’t use it because of not facing an infiltrating opponent.

    • Avatar
      Dbiesto December 1, 2017 6:28 pm #

      Its not just AL but most competitive chaos soups use nurglings to deny midfield. They are so good and got a points reduction in death guard! 54 points lets in 4 extra cultists

  15. Avatar
    Hiveminded December 1, 2017 4:18 pm #

    Nice review…well written and accurate!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 1, 2017 5:20 pm #

      Thanks! Have you had any luck with the flyers?

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