Tyranid Codex Review – Troops: Hormagaunts

Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we are going to keep clicking through the Troops section of the Tyranid book, and of course, you should also check out all the articles over at the tactics corner. Let’s look at our little, sometimes wobbly, other option for cheap chaff, the Hormagaunt! Do you like fast chaff that is exceptional at pinning units in place? Then the Hormagaunt is your go-to bug.

***Updated for Chapter Approved 2018***

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Scything talons – S3 AP 0 D1 melee that rerolls 1 to hit.
  • 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.
  • Bounding Leap:  This unit piles-in and consolidates 6 inches. (So good)
  • Hungering Swarm:  If the unit has 20 or more models, it rerolls 1s to wound in melee.

Hormagaunts are a different breed of chaff, and while they are just a touch more expensive, what they offer up is a unit that has extensive tactical application that can easily swing a game.  This is primarily because of Bounding Leap. A 6 inch pile in is massive, and it allows Hormies an insane amount of movement flexibility in the fight phase.  You can easily ring a transport to make sure that the folks inside cannot get out nor can the transport move away from combat. You can easily lock a non-Fly unit into combat and keep them from falling back.  A fun but CP expensive trick is to hit a small unit with the Hormies, kill them, pile in 6 towards the next unit, then trigger the fight again stratagem for another possible 12 inches of movement to completely lock down another unit.  Sure, they won’t fight, but it is about controlling the enemy’s movement and shooting, not doing damage.

That really is where Hormagaunts shine: board control.  150 points gets you 30 bodies that are speed 8, so with a good advance roll, in long table edge deployments, you can already be on the opponent’s half of the board with a squad that can have a huge footprint.  Throw in 2 or 3 of these blobs, and you can easily win the movement phase and severely limit your opponent’s ability to navigate space.   You can spend the points to give them Adrenal Glands and have them deploy with a Trygon, and with 1 CP for the reroll charge (or Behemoth), you have a unit that can come out of nowhere to tie up an entire backfield. Chapter Approved made this cheaper by cutting down the cost of Trygons and Tyrannocytes, so now upgrading them with Adrenal Glands isn’t that pricey.

As for combat, they have a few nice touches, namely scything talons for the reroll 1s to hit (so they hit 58% of the time) and if the squad is over 20, reroll 1s to wound, which helps take some of the sting off of Strength 3.  2 attacks a piece also isn’t bad, so a full squad will pump out a decent 60 attacks, but chances are, the squad won’t be full for long.  You can really upgrade them with Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Glands, but this gets pricey really quickly, so be mindful of what their job is. They also make excellent choices for Acid Blood as they tend to die pretty quick, but being able to get off some mortal wounds in return can make it a painful experience for your opponent.

In terms of Hive Fleets, it depends on how aggressive you want to be with them.  Kraken is a logical choice to increase their overall speed, allowing them to advance farther and still fall back and charge, which for them is amazing.  Being able to hit a unit, tie it up for a turn, then fall back around them and charge the backline is pretty clutch.  Leviathan can be fun to further increase their resilience as a tarpit with the 6+ Feel No Pain and Jormungandr works for a 5+ save against shooting although since Hormies want to advance, it can be a bit wasted outside of some first turn resilience.  Kronos is worthy as Hormies will absolutely be in the center of the table, so they spread a wide net of The Deepest Shadow.  If you really do want to run Hormies and have them do some damage, Hydra is excellent as hitting 75% of your attacks over 58% is a big increase in effectiveness. If you really want to try for actual damage dealing Hormies, then Hydra with Toxin Sacs is likely the best way although I find this subpar often.   Gorgon is a bit meh though as they get the same benefit for having more than 20, and if they drop below 20, they aren’t all that combat effective anyway. Behemoth is good for sticking those charges, but likely not ideal unless you are dedicated to Behemoth although Hormies, with their speed, can definitely get the most mileage out of the Behemoth stratagem by being able to get as many models in base to base as possible.

The downside is much like Termgants, they die, and they die fast.  T3 with a 6+ save is almost as bad as it gets, so anything from autoguns to the humble lasgun will start wracking up the wounds. You can try to make them more survivable with a Venomthrope for the -1 to hit and Jormungandr for the 5+ against shooting, but this really doesn’t protect them a lot.  Really, their best protection is having 60+ of them where the small defenses that we can have start to really add up or being locked into combat with a shooting unit.  If Hormies are going to survive, it is because they wrapped up a unit in combat and there are no melee threats near them.

Hormagaunts also do not actually do much damage.  Rerolling 1s to hit and wound is nice, but with a WS of 4+ and only S3, they are not going to do much, even to chaff units.  Especially with only 2 attacks each, Hormies are not going to kill units over 5 models in a single volley, and with their 6+ save and T3, they are going to die fast to swing backs.  They won’t last too long against just about any attention, so really, you have to rely on them to simply tie up and lock down a unit for a turn, nothing more.  You cannot expect them to actually do damage, and if you do expect it, you’ll be disappointed. Just like Termagants, you can also really hinder yourself if you try to kit them out.  Spending 7 points a model is just too much for what is essentially our best tarpit.  It is nice to dream about rolling that hot hand that nets you a bunch of 6s to wound for the Toxin Sacs to matter, but remember with no AP, a lot of units will shrug it off.   Also, like Termagants, they lack any kind of high quality attacks to help tip combat in their favor, so again, do not expect these bugs to win their fights. They are there to lock down the board and enemy units, not actually do damage, so make sure can keep them in synapse, so they don’t evaporate to morale.

90/100.  An amazing tarpit that rewards tactical nuance, but their lack of durability and pop make them not quite as reliable as you may want. Thanks for taking your time to listen (er, read) me gab on about my favorite army, and I hope for those going that you kick some ass at SoCal Open!

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.

8 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Troops: Hormagaunts”

  1. Kitani October 21, 2018 5:04 am #

    These little buggers pair extremely well with Genestealers advancing up the table together.
    I just wish they were a bit cheaper, right now I feel they are a bit expensive for a fragile one-trick pony.

  2. Reecius October 21, 2018 6:50 am #

    I am a big fan of Hormagants. The speed and ability to tag multiple units in combat are awesome.

    • abusepuppy October 22, 2018 6:35 pm #

      12″ of potential movement after a charge- for a total of anywhere between 22″ and 32″ in a single turn between all phases- is pretty amazing for a unit that is so cheap. They don’t generally do much damage in combat, but that isn’t the point; they can lock down whole sections of the battlefield, allowing your other units to act unhindered.

  3. Kurt October 21, 2018 10:03 am #

    The change they need is just lowering their base cost to 4 pts (like their Termagants friends): at this point you’re willing to take a tarpit unit and even pay few upgrades to upgrade their combat damage (which is frankly too expensive at current 5 ppm but at 4 might see some play)

  4. WestRider October 21, 2018 10:15 am #

    I still have fond memories of 4th Ed, when they were my primary CC damage dealers, so I find the current ones a little disappointing in that regard, but they are unquestionably a fantastic board control Unit. The 6″ pile in is just an amazing ability. Like Kitani, I do wish they were a little cheaper, since Adrenal Glands are an excellent bonus for them (especially when coming out of a tunnel in a Jormungandr List), but 6 points each for something that fragile starts feeling really expensive.

  5. Brakhal October 21, 2018 10:25 am #

    For me, and right now, Hormagants are awesome. Early game, they re-structure the board to shepherd the enemy models. Mid game, they create macro-combats to avoid enemy shooting power. End game, they spread all around the board, steaing multiple objectives.

    I always field at least two units, one to sacrifice early, and the other to keep safe until needed.

    Sure, they’re terrible at attacking, and they die quick when the enemy looks at them, or doesn’t have another target to focus, but they’re cheap and expendable.

  6. Dale October 21, 2018 3:59 pm #

    I like having these guys jump out of a Trygon tunnel with adrenal glands in a Behemoth detachment then popping a Brute Force and Caustic Blood strat combo for a little more threat against hard targets that don’t being tarpitted (Guilliman anyone?).

  7. VMate October 21, 2018 6:41 pm #

    I love going into a gunline with these guys. Charge one small unit out front and be careful to keep more than 3″ away from other units with your pile in/consolidate. Play Overrun to move and advance the unit 8+d6″, spreading it out across your opponents gunline. Then play Adrenaline Surge to ‘fight again’, allowing you another 6″ pile in and 6″ consolidate. It’s expensive at 4CP (and you don’t actually get to fight again), but against a gunline it can mean the difference between tying up 2-3 units in combat, or 4-6 units in combat, even with a significant gap between the screen and the gunline!

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