Tyranids: Chapter Approved 2018 Update

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here to talk about the newest update from the GW Hive-Mind.  We got a lot of early Yule-Tide gifts that help bring the big bugs back.  As always, you should check out the Tactics Corner and see how the other biomass made out this year.

So, let’s dive right into it and talk about the big changes in Chapter Approved: points reductions for a whole host of our biggest baddies.  I am going to go in an order of what I think is “sweeeeeeeet” to what I think is “well, that’s cool, I guess.”

The Groovy:

Swarmlord: Our greatest leader bug got the largest single points drop down to 250, and for me, this just only reinforces that just about any competitive build should think long and hard about including it.  At 250, you get a major force multiplier, psyker, and of course, melee beatstick.  This alone helps make a lot of my competitive lists just that a bit better as now I have a lot of wiggle room or can add another tyrant guard (or with some slight adjustments, two) to ensure that Swarmlord stays alive long into the fight.  If you haven’t tried Swarmlord, now is the time.

Tervigon: Our termagant farm just got playable. With one of the largest single points drop of any entry in our codex, the Tervigon now weighs in under 200 points, and for a T8 monster that pumps out the little bugs, that is a good deal, especially in Kraken where you can take the Chamelonic Skin relic and a Venomthrope unit for a -2 to hit big bad that is shockingly resilient. With that point drop, you can essentially get another 10 termagants to stick in front of this little factory, and really, this drop in price gives a lot more legs to a Termagant wall than before.  It is nice to have another army build open here. I am quite curious to try double tervigon gant-wall now as an answer to the board control that Orks bring to the table. Maybe it won’t work, but either way, the Tervigon is now certainly ready for the tabletop.

Tyrannofex: The other part of the wonderful Tervigon kit also gets a hefty, hefty points drop, and one of our largest gun-bugs is now priced to move and roast some tasties. While the Rupture Cannon is still a bit too pricey to justify for me,  it now cheap enough to try and not feel totally hamstrung by it. The real winner here is the Acid Spray T-Fex. At about 185, you get a meaty, meaty bug that can act as a backline anchor against aggressive threats as the spray may only be 18 inches, but double-shooting, it does a lot of damage, and it is one of our better answers to flyers and anything else that stacks negative modifiers to hit.  It is also cheap enough to run it forward and get it into the fight where it can dominate the middle of the board, and again, T8 is not an easy thing to overcome at range, especially with the ever-present -1 to hit from our Venomthropes.  For the most bargain price, you could even run Fleshborer Hives, which in the era of Orks, isn’t a terrible idea.

Broodlord: Oh yes, one of the largest percentage wise drops of our codex, the Broodlord is back in fashion. At under 120, the Broodlord is now a solid, mid-range HQ choice that provides a bit of everything. You get a solid melee fighter that can do damage against a lot of other small characters, a psyker, a synapse beacon, a force multiplier for our beloved Genestealers, and of course, an obligatory HQ choice that doesn’t get near or over 200 points.  While the Broodlord is not going to stand up to the strongest melee characters, it is cheap enough where it can do a little bit of damage and if it dies, no biggie. A psyker heavy army with Neuros, Broods, and Flyrants is not a bad idea now as that is a lot of smite fun backed by at least 6  bugs that also do some lifting outside of the psychic phase.

Toxicrene: What? You’ve never heard of this bug? To be fair, in my most recent game, I even forgot I had one, but with a small points drop, I think the Toxicrene is finally in the realm of playable at any level. For 140 points, you get a T7, 12 wound bug that rerolls wounds on its own and does multiple damage attacks.  Keep in mind that it is only strength 7, but with a constant reroll to wound, this means it actually wounds about 4% more against T8 than if it was S8 without a reroll. While a single Toxicrene is not much of a threat, several definitely are, especially when you can consider that a fully kitted out Gun-Carnifex is barely cheaper.  Are Toxicrenes OP? Hive Mind, no. That said, are they maybe worth a second look? At this price point, definitely.

Tyrannocyte: Our bug-taxi got a decent amount cheaper, and you can finally bring one for an even 100 points, which makes it worth considering depending on what you put in there.  Really, the price change is two fold: You get a discount on the Tyrannocyte itself and a discount on the 5 venom cannons if you want, but I’d still rather stay cheap as possible with Deathspitters.  A Tyrannocyte and a T-Fex is now not well over 300 points, and this makes it far more viable a tactic that can be a rather big issue for an opponent to suddenly deal with. With the drop in Tervigons (and Trygons), you can do a Beachhead bomb by dropping in the Tervigon and bringing in 30 termagants with a Trygon for a whole new flank of attack and board control. This goes from “fun to try” to “worth play-testing” at least.

Trygon/Trygon Prime: While they did not get cheaper, their weapons did, so taking a cool 20 points off the price of both makes them more attractive to be sure.  Both are great models, both actually can tear it up in melee thanks to Damage D6, and well, they are taxis, so if you want to do a more ambush style list, it is cheaper now thanks to the drop in both of our standard delivery systems.

Deathleaper: Oh, the little bug that could.  Deathleaper received a 33% price drop, and while it still lacks the statlines and rules to be really fearsome, Deathleaper really does become one of our best backfield objective holders. With the character keyword and a flat -2 to hit (in shooting and melee), it is really hard to get rid of this bug, and at 60 points, that is not dirt cheap but cheap enough to not really notice that Deathleaper is not doing much the whole game.  You can also use it as a Recon stick in ITC secondaries as you can deepstrike it in a corner and be relatively sure that it will survive for a while, getting you those points.  Again, Deathleaper is not going to impact the game much, but with this price point, it is worth considering when you build a list designed to win on secondaries.

Pyrovores: I like pyrovores. I think people sleep on them, but at 25 a pop, I think they are great for filling out an elite section and providing cheap defense.  for 75 points, you get a unit that can sit on an objective and make any charging units have to consider 3d6 S5 Ap-1 hits and then about 2.5 mortal wounds from killing them in melee.  While 30 Boyz may not care, plenty of smaller, more elite units do.  Pyrovores would be top of the pops if they could be taken in larger squads, but at this new price point, it is worth it to throw in a unit or two as a counter-assault/defensive line to help you hold the backfield.  I really like them paired with gant-wall as that list is defensive by nature, and the Pyrovores can help do some damage while also acting as the second line of defense.

Tyranid Prime: Yes, you’ve probably not seen these managers on the battlefield much, but with a good points drop, they now slide into the slot of usable, mostly to create cheap battalions. I’ve heard it scuttled about the interwebz, so I take no claim to originating the name, but the Tyranid Prime can be used to create the Hungry 5, (2 Primes, 3×3 rippers) or the Expendable 11 if you want stay true to the number of models, but either way, juts barely over 200 points for 5 CPs? That certainly is a fair price if you are running a more skewed monster style list where CPs are hard to come by or you just need more for the ever popular shoot twice/reroll wounds in melee stratagems.

Stranglethorn Cannon/Venom Cannon/Heavy Venom: Yes, these three weapons got a slight points adjustment down, and that is a great thing.  In competitive play, it was rare to see anyone bring these weapons along as they were overpriced for what they do, but with a bit of adjustment, there starts to be a bit of room for them.  With Primes getting cheaper and the VC also cheaper, a 3 Warrior unit with a single VC isn’t a bad little gunboat to try out.  With the drop to the Stranglethorn, the Kronos relic is a bit more attractive and only 1 point more than the standard Double-Devourers.  The Miasma Cannon is also much more likely to be considered as an auto-hitting S9 weapon (granted only d3 hits) is still not bad at all to play around with.  Are any of these changes earth-shattering? No, but it does open up some room to experiment.


Haruspex/Exocrine/Harpy/Crone/Maleceptor/The Red Terror

I am not particularly impressed by any of these changes.  It is not that these units don’t have a little bit more lease on life thanks to some points drops, it is more that they are just not designed well enough to really shine over other unit choices that fulfill a similar role.  The Haruspex is awesome, and I love the model, but with only 4 attacks at WS 4+, even with its discount, it is just not reliable enough for me to want to prioritize it over any units. For melee-beatstick, I’d rather spend a little more for Stonecrusher Carnifexes.  The Exocrine is tough, but S7 is not all that great at range, especially in the era of T8+, and in all my games, I just never felt that an Exocrine does as much at range as I’d like. Granted, it is definitely much more usable now, but I find that 12 shots of S7 just isn’t enough. I’d rather have a T-fex.  Both the Harpy and Crone are great models and fast, but they do not have enough quality output, especially considering they are only T6 and a 4+ save. The Harpy definitely wins more here as the drop in guns and its own points drop definitely makes it cheap, but I’d rather spend the points on other monsters, or if I want quality shooting, Hive Guard. Maleceptors are still not cheap enough as I’d rather have a Broodlord and change.  The Red Terror just doesn’t really work so well as Raveners are cool but best used as a cheap Jormungandr delivery system, and the Red Terror’s special attack, while likely to go off, is very matchup dependent.


The Neurothrope: Yes, we can’t win every hand, and the Neurothrope saw a points increase.  This was likely needed as they were too good at 70 points, and guess what, they are still really good at 90.  They are still our second cheapest HQ and great smite batteries, but they are now in that middle point where depending on how you want to run your army, they are not auto-includes.  You can go middle of the road and get cheapish HQ with some psychic ability to complement a psyker heavy list.  You can also run with them if you want a cheap basis for a battalion but still want some offensive punch from smite.  They are still excellent HQs, but there are finally other options as if you want just dirt cheap, then go with Primes, and if you want something a bit more fearsome, spend a little more for the Broodlord.

Final Thoughts:

The big winners here? The Big Bugs. Nidzilla is far more viable now than it was in November. With Swarmlord at a reduced cost, it is easier to take it and actually have room for some big tough critters.  Having 5+ T8 models on the table can really throw off your opponent, especially when there are still points for waves of fearless gaunts or even lightning fast genestealers.  Another big winner is a psychic heavy list as Broodlords were too expensive to ever want to take on their own, but with this new price point, having a mean psyker that also fights well? That really is awesome. Lastly, the ambush style army build for Tyranids is much more viable as our two primary delivery mechanisms got healthy reductions, so you aren’t spending as many points on getting units into reserve, which helps actually put scary things into reserve.

Overall, as a Tyranid player, I am quite grateful for these changes. While the hyper-tuned Kraken genestealer list is still likely our most competitive build, I do think several other builds are far more viable at the highest levels, and in more casual environments, so many of our big kits are better and bonus, you can take more of them than before! Who doesn’t love a table full of big bugs running around causing a ruckus? GW was good to us this year, so let’s hope that the GSC codex offers us up some awesome allies, and perhaps maybe we’ll also get a new kit or two in a campaign book at some point.  Thanks as always for reading, and be sure to check out my other Tyranid articles as I go back to update them with all of this new information.

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.

17 Responses to “Tyranids: Chapter Approved 2018 Update”

  1. Avatar
    Ujayim December 17, 2018 11:18 am #

    Swarmlord + Broodlord + 2×20 Stealers + Rippers is gonna be a thing, imo.

    • Avatar
      Adam December 17, 2018 4:23 pm #

      It’s…been a thing.

      • Avatar
        Ujayim December 17, 2018 7:22 pm #

        I’ve seen not a single Broodlord for all of 8th.

        I was unaware of this powerful and techy choice for 150pts, so you’ll have to forgive me for not seeing it everywhere. I’m sure those using this exact format are thrilled they’ve saved nearly a hundred points.

        • Avatar
          Ghostvalley December 17, 2018 8:53 pm #

          Juice – from the Long War, used Broodlord, stealers, and swarmy on one of their video bat-reps. I remember because I put together his list with all the inbuilt nids I’ve had on sprues for years. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.

          • Avatar
            Ujayim December 18, 2018 7:17 am

            Yeah, I follow nothing they do, so it would make sense being unaware of that. Thanks!

          • Avatar
            Ghostvalley December 18, 2018 8:42 am

            Their style is not for everyone!

        • Avatar
          Brakhal December 23, 2018 6:29 am #

          I was playing a mix of around 3 Broodlords/Patriarchs before the chapter. They were really expensive to shine, but decent enought when coordinated.

          They sound great at 115 points, perhaps too much. I was specting them to get down to 130-140. Time to try a few lists with 4-5 now.

  2. Avatar
    Victor December 17, 2018 1:13 pm #

    I doubt very much that trying smite spam with Tyranids is a good idea. As far as I know Tyranids are not exempt of increasing smite’s difficulty

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 17, 2018 2:00 pm #

      They aren’t but they do get re-roll mechanics to increase the likelihood of it occurring with certain units.

      • Avatar
        N.I.B. December 19, 2018 4:22 am #

        Yes, re-roll with Neurothropes, who are going up in points. Which contradicts Danny’s point about ‘a lot of Smites now’.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 19, 2018 5:17 am #

          The Neurothrope is still a good HQ. Tyranid players will still take them.

    • Avatar
      Venkarel December 18, 2018 6:35 am #

      Nick Rose disagreed with you. His earlier versions of GSC/Nids were built around smite being one of their main weapons.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy December 19, 2018 5:16 am #

        Yeah, they don’t get to ignore the scaling increase to the cast value, but they have super-smites through Zoanthropes, the stratagem for the same, and Psychic Scream to double down with a single model if needed.

  3. Avatar
    WestRider December 17, 2018 6:37 pm #

    The Tyranid Prime drop is my fave thing here. The others may be more impactful, but I love that his buff is now cost-effective.

  4. Avatar
    Brakhal December 23, 2018 6:34 am #

    Big guys getting cheaper is good, but I can’t see a place for them in a meta were a castellan is a common pairing.

    Slightly disappointed Warriors (and Raveners) didn’t get a 2-3 discount. Everything else is great, tho.

  5. Avatar
    Carnichef February 27, 2019 12:21 am #

    Maybe its just me, But it really seems like games workshop does not want anyone to ever use Forgeworld Bio titans. I’ve never used my Hierophant in a Apocalypse game and seen it survive the first round. Its point cost before at 1800 was way not worth it, The model has no survive ability. Its not just this 8th edition ether. They started seriously nerfing that model back in 6th edition, and with every update of the model it has been made weaker and more expensive in point cost. Compared to Imperial knights at 2000 points the Hierophant does not have a prayer.

  6. Avatar
    Hivey McHiveface December 2, 2019 7:48 am #

    Dude … CA 2019 update?!

    I know it hasn’t officially released, but that is no excuse.


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