Hello everyone, Danny here from TFG Radio, and today we talk about one of my favorite kits that doesn’t always get to see the table when I’m playing for keeps, but it is a tricksy little bug if you invest. Speaking of tricks, you should head over to the Tactics Corner to learn a few more. One of our heaviest hitters, the Haruspex, is tough, versatile, but not always the easiest to get into the action.
Equipment and Biomorphs:
- Grasping Tongue – Range 12, S6 AP-3 Dmg D3 Assault 1. Can be fired within 1 of an enemy unit and within 1 of an enemy unit engaged with a friendly unit. If a model is slain by this attack, the Haruspex heals 1 wound.
- Ravenous Maw – S7 AP -1 Dmg D3. Make D3 hit rolls for each attack made with this weapon.
- Shovelling Claws – S14 AP -3 Dmg D6.
- 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.
- Acid Blood: For every wound lost in melee, on a 6+, the attacking unit suffers 1 mortal wound.
- Rapacious Hunger: Every enemy model slain by a Ravenous Maw attack generates a free attack with Shovelling Claws. Also, at the end of the Fight phase, if a model is slain by a Ravenous Maw attack, the Haruspex heals 1 wound.
- Frenzied Death Throes – When this model is reduced to 0 wounds, on a 6+, it causes 3 mortal wounds to every unit within 3 of it before it is removed.
The Haruspex has a pretty impressive statline on paper. It is a T8 baddie with 13 wounds, so it definitely takes some dedicated attention to bring it down. That is really key here: T8. There are a lot of S6 and S7 shooting out there, so being wounded on 5s really keeps this bug from being easy meat. The 3+ save is not bad at all either and makes it quite resilient to small arms fire. The real sweetness is that the Haruspex is one of our strongest melee fighters with S14 AP -3 Dmg D6 attacks. That’s some real punch that makes even Knights wary. The Tyranid codex doesn’t actually have a lot of Dmg D6 attacks, so that alone makes the Haruspex special, and in this world of Knights, Primarchs, and what have you, you need a way to do that kind of big damage in one volley.
Interestingly, the Haruspex is actually one of our better big bads in terms of dealing with hordes. Thanks to the Maw, the Haruspex has anywhere from 4-12 attacks in each fight, and every time the Maw kills a model, you get a free Claw attack, so it is technically possible (but highly unlikely) that you could generate 24 attacks in a single fight. Not bad. Of course, by the math, you can expect roughly 11 attacks per turn (against a Conscript/Brim unit) from the Harurspex (8 Maws, 3 Claws), which is not too shabby. The Haruspex is actually great at dealing with multiple threats at once if you can line up a charge to engage a larger, squishier unit and a tougher, armored unit so those free claw attacks go right into the hard target and probably do some big, big damage. This is especially true for the usual Astra Militarum/Knight combination where you can position to start eating the little guys while also putting in big hits on the Knight, and if you are feeling lucky, you can actually get more than 4 attacks with the claws against the Knight by chewing on some guardsmen. This also works against Orks if you are dealing with a Boyz horde and characters. If your opponent positions wrong, you can eat some Boyz and get some free swings on those warbosses.
Of course, the Haruspex also has two means of healing, its gun and its Ravenous Maw attack, and it can theoretically heal 2 wounds in the same turn, which helps get some extra mileage out of the big bug, especially if it tips you back to into Healthy from Medium. Throw in Rapid Regeneration, and you can theoretically heal 5 wounds in a single turn, which makes the Haruspex a good mid to late game piece as it can heal itself back up to stay in the fight and not fall to scattered shooting/melee. Throw in Voracious Appetite for reroll to wounds, and you get a real melee killer here. You can also trigger Death Frenzy and have the Haruspex fight again when it is killed in melee. There is a more or less unique stratagem for the Haruspex, but the -1 morale modifier isn’t all that special. It is important to note that the Haruspex is 170 points, making it rather inexpensive for what you are getting. Chapter Approved dropped the points considerably on this bug, so it is a good deal at the end of the day, at least in terms of raw stats. A Haruspex is far more viable now than it ever was.
Hive Fleet can matter here. As this bug needs to get into the fray, Kraken is an obvious choice for that sweet first turn advance for positioning, especially if you throw on Onslaught to let the Haruspex charge afterwards. You can certainly do a Kraken-Swarmlord Haruspex missile for a first turn charge, and thanks to Opportunistic Advance, still have good odds for a first turn Genestealer charge as well. Leviathan isn’t a bad choice as an extra 6+ Feel No Pain on a T8 13 wound model starts to matter, especially one without an invulnerable save, but you need a synapse babysitter. Jormungandr isn’t bad either for the 2+ save against shooting, but as the Haruspex is a melee monster, you do want to advance, but it does help soften the alpha strike if you go second. Gorgon helps with the reroll 1s to wound, and Behemoth isn’t bad for the reroll charges (and this bug wants to charge). As the Haruspex is a monster, Hydra is not really meaningful, and Kronos doesn’t add anything either although the Haruspex is a big monster that wants to run up the board, that is a lot of reach for The Deepest Shadow.
The downside to the Haruspex is a lack of an invulnerable save and a terrible Weapon Skill. While T8 and 13 wounds with a 3+ save is nice, it will wither to dedicated firepower like Lascannons or Missile Launchers. Having only a 6+ armor save against the usual big punches (at best a 5+ or a 6+ FnP) means that the Haruspex is going to take those D6 damage rolls. With the ever present Castellan, the Big H is going to die at range to that Volcano Lance. The other big issue is that it is only WS 4+ when healthy. That means only half of its attacks will hit, and we all know how easy it is to roll 2, 2, 2, 4. Seeing as the big bug has no way to survive hits from big targets, if it doesn’t kill what it hits on the first volley, it is going to die, and with WS 4+, that’s just not good enough. Even if you revive it for one more swing, at WS 5+ and only S10 with the claws, that is likely not going to do any meaningful damage. Because of this reliance on hitting first, you need to invest in a delivery method like Swarmlord or a Tyrannocyte. These are all cheaper now, which again makes the Haruspex better, but you still have to worry about WS 4+. Even the Tyrannocyte is not ideal as the Haruspex has no bonus to charge distance, so making a 9 inch charge, even with a reroll, is risky business. Throw in that it is likely using a CP for a reroll to hit or a CP for a reroll to wound, you are looking at a major investment, far more than its cheap price tag would have you believe. That is really the issue here: The Haruspex has a lot of great rules and can kick some major tail for the Hive Mind, but the true price tag is much higher than it first appears, and it very luck dependent. A Haruspex is a fun model to have and play with, but in terms of pure competitiveness, it will likely fall short of expectations.
68/100. Not great, but perhaps workable in a competitive environment if you are building an outside the box list. I love the model, and I’ve never felt bad having one, and really, that is what matters. Thanks as always for reading, and as the year ends, as always, be prepared for the Hive Mind’s arrival.
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