Tyranid Codex Review – Troops: Termagants

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we get into one of my favorite little bugs, the Termagant! Our most basic of basic bugs can be cheap chaff or the source of buckets upon buckets of dice!  I find plenty of problems are solved by the judicious use of lots and lots of dice. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

***This article updated for Chapter Approved 2018***

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Fleshborer – Range 12”, S4, AP 0 D1 Assault 1.
  • Spinefists – Range 12”, S3 AP 0 D1 Pistol 1.
  • Devourer – Range 18”, S4 AP 0 D1 Assault 3. (The real money)
  • Toxin Sacs – A wound roll of 6+ in melee causes 1 additional damage.
  • Adrenal Glands – +1 to advance and charge distance.

Special Rules:

  • Instinctive Behavior: Unless within 24 inches of a HIVE FLEET synapse creature, -1 to hit for shooting attacks against any target that is not the closest, and -2 to charge a unit unless it is the closest.
  • Hail of Living Ammunition: If 20 or more models in the unit, reroll 1s to wound for ranged attacks.

The termagant may be tiny, may be easy to kill, but the Hive Mind bless them, they are cheap.  They are our cheapest infantry, and they pack a surprising punch at range with either a standard S4 assault 1 gun or you can double their points to pack a devourer for an 18 inch, S4, assault 3 rifle.   That is some decent shooting on a relatively cheap chassis, and even just a squad of 30 for board control and filler can do some surprising damage with their fleshborers.  As they pack assault weapons, their range 12 is mitigated by the fact that the Gants can advance and still shoot, albeit needing 5+, so you can still move to dominate the board while laying down enough fire to threaten smaller blocking units like Scouts.  Their new rule of rerolling 1s to wound in shooting when there are 20 or more models is nice and fluffy.  While not overpowering, it certainly helps if you plan to do the Devil-Gant (devourer-gants) bomb.

From my view, there are two main ways to rock the Termagant.  The first is to dedicate to the Devil-Gant bomb. With Trygons now allowing a full unit of 30 Termagants to pop up, 30 Devil-Gants is 90 shots into a unit, and since Gants are infantry, you can double shoot for a whopping 180 shots in a single turn.  On average dice, that’s 45.7 dead T3 5+ save models. That’s a lot of pin-point firepower, and Termagants are one of our best ways to deal with other hordes as they shoot well enough, and they are cheap enough to take a few units.  It only gets better after Chapter Approved as all of our delivery systems are now cheaper, so you can pull off a full 30 Devil-Gant bomb for less than 400 points or even a budget version with just 20 and a Tyrannocyte for about 260. When in doubt, you can even charge them in, and while they don’t fight well, absorbing 90 S4 shots (or 180) is going to weaken most chaff units, and then another 30 S3 attacks could push them over the edge.   You can really dedicate to this by including a Tervigon in a Tyrannocyte for the reroll 1s to hit and some regeneration (plus Synapse).  This is expensive, but it is essentially setting up a beachhead anywhere on the table, and it forces your opponent to debate how to handle whatever your frontline threats are and then suddenly the two big bugs and 30 little ones somewhere else.  On Turn 3, that can be what radically reshapes the flow of the battle as you enter the mid-game. Especially now that Tervigons are far cheaper and far more useful, the Termagants stock goes way up.

The other way to effectively utilize the Termagant is as chaff.  At 120 points for 30 models that are fearless when in Synapse, you can easily drop down 90 of them for not much of a points investment for that many bodies.  Throw in a Malanthrope or Venomthropes, and they are also -1 to hit at range.  Again, that’s 90 bodies that are Objective Secured and Fearless, and depending on the Hive Fleet, maybe a 5+ save against shooting or with a 6+ Feel No Pain.  If you really need to hold an objective, a unit of Gants with Catalyst can be exceptionally annoying to bring down.   They may not get a lot of kills, but they can block out enemy reserves from landing anywhere useful, they can limit where Knights/flyers can move, and they can absorb charges to let counter-assault elements get into the fight or delay for a gunline to do its work.   Don’t forget Acid Blood which is super helpful for putting on a few wounds on a hard target or even crippling a small, elite squad that butchered through them like Khorne Berserkers. Again, with the Tervigon being so much better, 60-90 Gants with a big bug is essentially a lot of board control that replenishes 10 a turn.

Each Hive Fleet is going to offer something workable for the Termagant, which is again nice customization and adds a lot of flexibility.  Hydra is great if you want to surprise your opponent with some melee action as it definitely helps the Termagants increase their threat level (although not to anything major, just a surprising extra jab at times).  Jormungandr gives them that 5+ save against shooting as well as the option for a cheaper delivery system for Devil-Gants by having them hitch a ride with a Mawloc or Raveners.  Leviathan adds the extra Feel No Pain save to keep them around even longer.  Gorgon is again for some extra melee surprises although Hydra is definitely superior for that.  Kronos doesn’t give them much with their shooting since Termagants want to move across the board to control it, but as they can move forward, having them out in the mid-field helps catch enemy psykers in the range of the Kronos Stratagem. Kraken is great for extra speed to help reach the mid-field faster and the ability to fall back and charge can again catch small units off guard that suddenly find themselves swarmed.  If you want to take a Tervigon, Kraken is great as the -1 to hit relic really makes a  Tervigon hard to shift, so your little bugs have plenty of backup. Behemoth isn’t ideal but reroll charges can help them get to where they want to tarpit, and if you get 10-15 of them in base to base with a hard target or a bigger unit of hard targets (like Terminators, etc), popping the Behemoth strategy for a few sneaky mortal wounds isn’t entirely bad.  Really, you have options here, and that rewards creative thinking and flexibility.

The only downside is that Termagants are even squishier than before. With only a 6+ save and the change to cover, they cannot rely on the old 4+ cover save, even when plenty of other armies could ignore it.  At best, your Termagant is going to get a 5+ save in cover, and that is not all that helpful.  With the change in cover that the whole unit must be on or within, it can be hard to fit 30 Termagants in a single piece of terrain.   They really need a Malanthrope or Venomthrope for the -1 to hit modifier to keep them safe as once they take a shot, they crumble fast.   Catalyst can keep them alive longer, but then you are not casting Catalyst on something else that might need it more like a big Genestealer unit or even Swarmlord.  You can also fall into a big trap with Termagants, namely making them insanely expensive.  If you start throwing in Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Glands, you are negating what makes them exceptional: their price point.  This is definitely a self-inflicted wound, so while it may seem to cool to have some faster, slightly meaner Gants, it is not worth the points.  Even with the Devil-Gant bomb, you are forced into dedicating to this because it is expensive (although much cheaper now), especially with the proper delivery systems, so while good, you have to build around it rather than being able to slot it into other army builds.

Another downside is that Gants cannot bring any kind of high quality attacks to the table.  They have no sergeants for hidden powerfists or the like, so you are really relying on weight of numbers, but that often is not enough.   While they are not designed for such, it definitely means you need to be tempered in your expectation of what they can do in combat.  They are a shooting unit and a tarpit, that’s it.

87/100:  A strong B unit that does quite a bit of work.  Either as a cheap tarpit or as a fully-loaded Devil-Gant unit, these little bugs have skills that pay bills, but don’t expect them to last too long to any real attention unless you invest. Thanks as always for reading!

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




About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.

9 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Troops: Termagants”

  1. WestRider October 14, 2018 1:33 am #

    I played around for a bit with running a mixed Brood, with 10-20 Fleshborer Gaunts playing meatshield for the rest of the 30 with Devourers. The idea was that a nearby Tervigon would keep refilling the ablative Gaunts, since they can add casualties back to a Unit without Reinforcement Points. Unfortunately, 8th is just too deadly for it to work out. Either 30 Gaunts or the Tervigon can be wiped out before getting any extra Gaunts if a solid Opponent wants to make it happen.

    • Reecius October 15, 2018 5:35 pm #

      I play that style list with 90 Gants and a Tervigon and it works great for me. I know not everyone has the same results but I’ve really enjoyed it. The Tervigon is a bit pricey but with some of the defensive buffs I’ve been able to make it work. The Castellan is a bit rough, though, lol.

      I like Leviathon and Jormungandr for that combo. With the Acid Blood strat they often plow through even very tough melee units by simple dying on them and then being regenerated, lol.

      • WestRider October 15, 2018 10:14 pm #

        Yeah, I think part of the issue was that I don’t have enough Gaunts to run several Broods like that. I can manage two, tho. I should give it a try like that.

        • Reecius October 16, 2018 8:42 am #

          Yeah, I like 90 because pretty much no one goes through 90 bodies at -1 to hit and either a 5+ save or a 6+/6+++. It keeps all of my other units behind them safe and sound and I have killed things like Bobby G by having him get clogged down in a unit of Gants that surround him and chip away at him with normal attacks and Mortal Wounds. I actually had an opponent call the Tervigon cheesy as she kept putting 10 more Gants into the unit preventing Bobby G from busting out, haha! That was a victory unto itself =)

  2. mekugi October 14, 2018 11:30 pm #

    Nice article. What’s going on with the twitch stream, I’ve missed you guys!

    • Reecius October 15, 2018 5:37 pm #

      We still do our weekly Signals from the Frontline stream (although we missed last week as a few of us were on vacation) but we haven’t streamed a game in a while as we simply haven’t had time. A stream takes about 4 people 4 hours each to do and we just weren’t generating enough revenue to make it worth while. That same 16 hours of work from the staff doing normal work was a lot better for the business.

      We hope to come back to it at some point as it is fun but at the end of the day if we’re not generating enough revenue we go out of business so you have to make tough choices at times.

  3. Brakhal October 16, 2018 5:56 am #

    Fleshborer Termagants are good. Don’t expect them to kill anything, but they are cheap bodies to overwhelm the oponent, taking objectives, surrounding units, and distracting heavy hitters with a low quantity attacks. On the other side, I’m a bit disappointed with the Scorch Bugs stratagem: while other faction chaffs can have a bigger impact on aggresion, through auras, buffs and stratagems, gant tricks are limited to the reactive Acid Blood and the absurdly expensive Tervigon’s respawn. I mean, Scorch Bugs is such a waste that it is not even mentioned in the article, because of the low quantity of shots offered by the flesh borers. I think it should make the weapon assault 2 for the rest of the phase when used (even if it had cost 2 instead of 1), just to be something to use from time to time.

    Spinefists are, as always, a niche option.

    I don’t think about devourers being a serious option, too expensive for bs4+ s4 glasscannons, but not terrible. I just prefer to keep gants cheap.

    One problem I see with Termagants (and Hormagaunts, by the way) in the itc format (and in narrative) is their high power level score. A gant with a devourer and both gland is the pinnacle of ineficiency, yet this option bloats the power level in the data to the point where a 21+ unit can be chosen to give a point for marked for death (while still counting for the reaper, as usual). Not a big thing, yet annoying.

    • Reecius October 16, 2018 8:43 am #

      Frankie runs 60 Devourer Gants in a Leviathon list and has them pop up with Tervigons. They do serious work, particularly with the double shot strat. They’re quite good.

      I sometimes run 10 in a unit of 30 gants and then keep regenerating the casualties with the Tervigon, keeping the Devourers relatively safe.

  4. mekugi October 17, 2018 1:42 am #

    Roger that, business first makes total sense.
    I was actually referring to signals which I watch religiously (from Australia).
    I think that it’s just that 2 weeks has felt like two months for some reason. I’ve missed you and the salty ‘naana lol!

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