Tyranid Codex Review – Elites: Venomthrope

Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we talk about ways that the bugs keep themselves alive, at least for a little while. If you want some more tricks and tips, be sure to check out the ever expanding Tactics Corner! The Malanthrope’s little siblings, the Venomthropes, are back and better than the index, and they actually can see play in a lot of lists, also because the Malanthrope got worse.

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

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Toxic Lashes (shooting): Range 6” S4 AP 0 Dmg D3 Assault 2. Can fire within 1 of enemy models and target models within 1 of friendly models. Rerolls wounds.
  • Toxic Lashes (melee): S4 AP 0 Dmg D3. Always fights first as if charging, reroll wounds.

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.
  • Shrouding Spores: -1 to hit in shooting aura for friendly HIVE FLEET units (other than Monsters) within 6 of a venomthrope. If there are 3 or more Venomthropes in a unit, this aura extends to all friendly Hive Fleet units and the aura is increased to 9 inches.
  • Toxic Miasma – At end of fight phase, roll for every enemy unit within 1” of a Venomthrope. On a 5+, the enemy unit takes 1 mortal wound.

The major feature of the Venomthrope is that it provides a defensive buff to our units, but a big change from the index is that they now provide a defensive buff to all bugs as long as there are at least 3 in the unit.  Again, it is hard to objectively measure how much a -1 to hit modifier in shooting helps our armies.  Whether you are going monster-mash or horde, it all makes a difference, and Venomthropes provide that at a budget cost of only 90 points for a minimum squad.  That is now 50 points cheaper than a Malanthrope, but even better, their aura of effect is 6 inches (or 9), not 3, so a single unit of Venomthropes can actually cover a huge swath of your army.  Again, just about any bug build benefits from having this defensive ability and the added flexibility since having to keep everyone near one model really slows down your positioning.  A big part of success on the table is building an army that mitigate the dice or give more opportunities for your opponent’s dice to fail, so again, that -1 to hit at range is hard to oversell. Especially with Chapter Approved 2018 making a lot of big bugs more viable like Tervigons, Haruspexes, and Tyrannofexes, these guys are even more in demand as T8 is awesome, but T8 with -1 to hit at range is even more awesome. Especially with the Tervigon now in style, having a unit of Venomthropes with a Tervigon with the -1 to hit relic makes that T8 big mama really hard to pick up at range.

On the actual damage side, Venomthropes aren’t chumps, but they aren’t good. They do reroll wounds in combat and shooting, which isn’t bad at all, but at BS/WS 4+, they don’t hit too much.  They do have 3 wounds each now, which makes them a bit more resilient, particularly since they are in your back of your lines, so only long-range, often high powered shooting can get to them, and well, if someone is shooting at your 90 point venomthropes with a gun that kill your 300 point Swarmlord, more power to them.  They do have a 33% chance to cause a mortal wound at the end of the Fight phase, which is cool, but well, if Venomthropes are fighting, then things have gotten desperate it seems.  They can be a full unit of 6 now, which is cool, but really not needed unless you are running a huge horde and you need to be able to cover your entire board edge with the -1 modifier.  Don’t forget that Venomthropes do D3 damage with their attacks, which can be an opportunity to spike some sneaky damage.

Hive Fleet here isn’t super important, but it can still add some nice benefits.  Kraken is great for getting Venomthropes the speed that they need to keep up with your forces, and the -1 to hit modifier stacks with Kraken’s unique bio-artefact, Chamelonic Skin, so having a Tervigon with a -2 to hit is pretty tasty. Leviathan can also give them a nice extra level of protection if near a Synapse creature, but then that tethers them a bit to another unit.   Kronos/Behemoth/Gorgon/Hydra/Jormungandr don’t add anything specifically, but again, the Venomthrope is a support piece, so by just existing, it helps out the army, and especially for Hydra, which is all about bringing the bodies, the -1 to hit modifier really shines.

The downside to the Venomthrope is the same as any support unit; they support.  If they are what is left on the table, you are in trouble, and they don’t do much other than provide that nice -1 to hit.  They are not characters, so they can be targeted, which can be a blessing in disguise if your opponent has bad target priority, but it does make them vulnerable, and with only T4 and a 5+ save, they are very, very easy to kill.  They are slow with only a 5 inch move, so a bad advance can mean that your front line is suddenly on a leash. Again, they are not expensive, but if you are relying on the -1 to hit, it can be turned off.  If you building towards a much more compact phalanx (like Carnifexes or Haruspexes), then a Malanthrope might be a better choice as all a savvy opponent has to do is kill 1 Venomthrope to turn off the aura for the big targets.  This is not say they are bad, but again, as support pieces, there are inherent flaws.

80/100. A much needed improvement over the Index version, and with the nerf to Malanthropes, Venomthropes are an excellent defensive support unit that really does help keep the bugs from being shot off the board immediately. Having a unit of 3 is rarely a waste of points.  Thanks as always for reading, and remember: -1 to hit is money, money, money.

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.

3 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Elites: Venomthrope”

  1. Avatar
    HM December 16, 2018 9:21 am #

    Theyhave fly keyword. They won’t benefit from Jormungandr trait.

    • Danny Ruiz
      Danny Ruiz December 16, 2018 9:37 am #

      They do, and noted. Thanks for the eye.

  2. Avatar
    WestRider December 16, 2018 5:18 pm #

    Also, it very rarely comes up, but keep in mind that there’s an important difference between Shooting Attacks like their Toxic Lashes and the Pistols that they’re often mistaken for: Unlike Pistols, these can shoot into a combat from outside of it, or vice-versa. Every now and then, that can be really handy.

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