Tyranid Tactics: Venomthropes

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!

Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson


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15 Responses to “Tyranid Tactics: Venomthropes”

  1. Avatar
    Akaiyou December 21, 2017 9:12 am #

    I agree Venomthropes are useful I try to include a 3-man unit in every list I make. Auto-include in any brigade i make. I have benefited greatly from that -1 to hit over a large area that usually either covers my entire army or most of it, I keep them towards the middle rear so that my opponent remains pre-occupied with shooting at the front lines and sucking up that -1 to hit all the while.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 21, 2017 10:49 am #

      Yeah, I will have to give them another look. I still prefer the Malanthrope due to it being an HQ and Character but you guys are convincing me to take a second look at Venomtrhopes.

      • Avatar
        Xenos Player December 21, 2017 3:41 pm #

        I think with the increase in the malanthrope price fielding two might be a bit too expensive. I’m intending to do one Malanthrope at the back to support the infantry then Venomthropes with neurothrope(s) in the main body

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 21, 2017 4:05 pm #

          Yeah, not a bad plan at all. I was considering trying something similar, myself.

  2. Petey Pab
    Petey Pab December 21, 2017 10:08 am #

    Good article! I love the patented iNcontrol sass laced in there with some quality information.

    I also agree, I think Venomthropes are very underrated and do belong in certain builds.

  3. Avatar
    Bedmond Loans December 21, 2017 3:05 pm #

    Love your work Geoff but not sure i’m digging the venomthropes.

    Part of their attractiveness as you seem to argue in the article is that your opponent doesn’t understand what they do. How far is that going to get you in later rounds of a big tournament?

    I don’t know whether the US meta is going to be as dominated by dark reapers as the UK meta is at the moment but reaper exarchs with the 2d6 s4 -2 ap indirect fire guns are going to have a field day with those. I run four such exarchs and that’s probably on the soft side.

    • Avatar
      KingAceNumber1 December 22, 2017 6:43 am #

      Yeah, the reaper thing is quickly becoming a set piece for competitive play. 5x squads of 3 is what I usually see, all with tempest launcher on the exarch.

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 22, 2017 12:29 pm #

        Yeah, it is an extremely strong build.

        • Avatar
          Bedmond Loans December 26, 2017 1:57 pm #

          I suspect that is a bit of an understatement. They are so good I would run nothing but reapers, hawks and support characters but I’m expecting a shadow spectre/conscript style nerf in March.

          I bet reapers won the LVO though!

  4. Avatar
    Hiveminded December 21, 2017 8:26 pm #

    I enjoy using venomthropes and believe many people have been too quick to disregard them as competitive.

    The 6″ bubble originating from three/four models is a much larger footprint than a 3″ bubble from a single malanthrope. This provides much more flexibility during deployment. The issue is durability. If you’re playing on a table with decent terrain, you can hide these guys behind LOS blocking and still benefit from that juicy 6″ bubble.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 22, 2017 12:28 pm #

      Yeah, that was always my concern: a good player will smoke those guys pretty quickly.

  5. Avatar
    N.I.B. December 21, 2017 10:47 pm #

    The Venomthropes works fine in Geoff’s list, I took it for a spin last game. 4 models makes it really unattractive to shoot at seeing how you must kill 2 models to strip the -1 from monsters. Myself I’ve been fielding 3 Vthropes (FW is banned in our tournaments) in my Kraken list with only infantry models deployed. Same goes there, you must kill all 3 to strip the aura from close-by infantry.
    But I still think they should have a point decrease, they feel a bit too expensive and restrictive for what they do.

  6. Avatar
    N.I.B. December 21, 2017 11:28 pm #

    Geoff, I used your list but dropped 2 Biovores to have 60pts reinforcement points to use on either Sporefield stratagem (2×3 Spore Mines) or in games were you don’t want to use Sporefield, spawn new Termagants instead. Only one game yet so can’t really say if it’s worth it.

  7. Avatar
    WestRider December 22, 2017 11:16 pm #

    I would also note that, since they have the Fly keyword, they don’t synergize as well with Jormungandr as you might think at first glance. Even at 140 Points, the Malanthrope’s Character protection feels like a better buy there.

    Also, I admit I’m kind of annoyed by the increase in required Brood size. I’ve only got two of them at the moment.

  8. Avatar
    Brakhal December 23, 2017 6:31 pm #

    I don’t think Venomthropes to be awful, but they lack something. I played a few games with a brood of 6 and, while they’re been good against astra and mech, I don’t have problems against those armies anyway. The main threat I’m facing right now are eldar reapers, and they don’t do anything against them.

    In the end, I prefer to invest their points in more Warriors, gants, Pyrovores or a spray T-fex. Bodies more agressive and tough.

    If FW is banned in your meta, the protection bubble can be nice for ‘stealers (glasshammers) and for a chamaleonic Kraken character (double the penalty). They’re weak, but they have a place in a few builds.

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