Hey everyone, Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson here to talk about them dirty Tyranids again. This time I’d like to talk about a very under-looked friend of mine: The Venomthrope. be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles and advice.
Venomthropes occupy the elite slot when building a list for your Tyranids. This is important because Tyranids want to try and get up to Brigade so they can unlock the really beneficial 12 command points it gives you to work with. With a mediocre stat line of ws/bs 4+ and tough 4 at 3 wounds and only a 5+ save it is easy to discount the Venomthrope. Additionally, while giving off that -1 to hit bubble this role was previously complicated by the all-star that was/is the Malanthrope. With the “character” keyword and a generally speaking better stat line coming in at only 90 pts as an HQ choice the Malanthrope was an auto-take for Tyranid players. However, with the Chapter Approved release we now have to pay 140 points for that sucker! Does that remove him from competitive play? Certainly not. I still think this is one of the better HQ choices you can get (HELLOOOO Neurothrope, though!) but certainly it falls from the auto-take designation to something slightly less desirable but probably not a bad choice.
So why the Venomthrope? I’m calling this unit mostly mediocre…so what gives? In my games I’ve found these suckers to be a really pleasant little hidden gem. With a unit of 4 of them I have 120 points of 12 wound guys who nobody wants to shoot at. They aren’t terribly exciting nor are they really scary so they mostly go ignored. If a savvy opponent looks to remove them, make sure and utilize the LoS blocking terrain you should have and take advantage of that 6′ bubble that can surprisingly cover a lot of ground from a unit like this stretching out. Additionally, their offensive output really isn’t terrible: 2 shots at short range (6″) but with D3 damage and re-rolling to wound, you pack a little punch. You can shoot into combat AND they have the same kind of attack in CC as well, dealing multiple damage. Again, nobody is looking at this and going nuts but considering this isn’t their primary role this is more than sufficient. I’ve liked pairing this with the stratagem where you can generate D3 command points back for 1 command point spent if they kill a character in CC. They won’t be taking down G-Man any time soon but that odd chaplain or librarian with a 3+ save? Yeah man, they can do it. The case against the Venomthrope is that they die to a stiff fart. With only a 5+ save and 3 wounds on a tough 4 model any kind of concentrated fire will blow them away. That said I look at that as a turn where those shots aren’t going towards my more key units OR they ignore them and generally my armies defensive quality remains fairly high. If the Venomthrope were any more expensive I wouldn’t be using them in my list but with how cheap they are and how cheeky their bit of offensive is I have been LOVING them.
With CA I made the choice to experiment with my Venomthropes and I won’t be turning back. Neurothropes give me that cheap HQ and some other fun tricks. The ability to stretch the -1 to hit across a larger area AND the decent punch they pack as a back field defender has made for a really nice combo. I think very specifically they are nice at filling out a brigade but I am not sure I’d be paying the points if I was running a battalion or two, instead.
That’s it for now. Let me know what you guys think and as always check out FLG for all your tabletop needs! See you at the LVO I hope!
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