Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and as always, today, I want to talk about Tyranids and their greatness. Well, maybe not so much this time. If you want some tips to up your game, don’t forget the Tactics Corner. You’ll need it to make our biggest brain bug work, The Maleceptor, and if you figure it out, please do let us all know.
***This article has been updated for Chapter Approved 2018***
Equipment and Biomorphs:
- Massive Scything Talons: S7 AP -3 Dmg 3 melee that reroll 1s to hit.
- Shadow in the Warp: -1 to psychic tests within 18″. Does not affect TYRANID units.
- Synapse: Fearless bubble of 12 inches.
- Pyschic Barrier: 5+ invulnerable save
- Psychic Overload: Instead of casting, roll for every unit within 6 (up to a maximum depending on its health). On a 2+, that unit takes 1 mortal wound. On a 6+, it takes 3 mortal wounds.
- Psyker: Cast and deny 2 powers per turn. +1 to cast.
On the plus side, the Maleceptor has a few unique things going for it. First, it is the only model in the bug arsenal that has a flat bonus to cast psychic powers. For a late sequence Smite or a critical Onslaught/Catalyst, that can really help sneak something through. If you are building around say a Dimachareon/Haruspex missile where Onslaught is essential, then a Maleceptor could help make sure that with a CP reroll and the +1, you are more than likely to get the power cast. It is also one of the only monstrous creatures with a built-in invulnerable save of 5++, giving it a decent amount of protection from the big hitters out there. It also is one of the few brain bugs capable of denying two powers a turn rather than just one. These are all interesting little things that again make the Maleceptor quite different than other options. It is somewhat beastly in the stat department with T7 and 12 wounds. With a 3+ save and a 5++, that’s not all that easy to kill, so they are shockingly resilient for the price point, especially now with their lower cost. Even in combat, it rerolls 1s to hit and hits at S7 when healthy, which isn’t bad at all although with only 3 attacks, it is more of a surprise bonus than anything to rely upon. Really, the biggest thing about it is that it only costs 160 points. Yep, it is cheeeeeap. You get a lot of statline for that kind of price. Throw in that this has Shadows and Synapse, and there are definitely things to praise about it.
Hive Fleet also helps here make the Maleceptor just a bit more than what it appears. Jormungandr really ups its survivability by giving it a 2+ save to shooting which makes anything AP -2 and under far less likely to put on wounds. Leviathan also increases its survivability with the 6++ Feel No Pain. Everyone else doesn’t do much. Kraken isn’t bad for the super speed to let the Maleceptor get into position for a good Smite. Hydra/Gorgon/Behemoth are just not meant for this bug sadly. I would certainly suggest that increasing its defensive buffs is best for the Maleceptor to really leverage its survivability at range for the price point.
The problem is that the Maleceptor is just a smite battery. It really has no other legitimate threat vectors. A +1 to cast Smite is cool, and you get the bonus super smite on 10 rather 11, but yah, not so much enough to justify the points. Even loading it for max damage and using Smite plus Psychic Scream is still only 2d3 or maybe d6+d3 mortal wounds is just not a lot compared to what other units can do in terms of raw damage. A Broodlord or naked Hive Tyrant would be better if you just want a smite battery and a Broodlord is far cheaper now than it was. Hell, both Broodlords and a walking Hive Tyrant fight a lot better, and both are more survivable in their own ways. If you just want a smite, then you can get two Neurothropes for just a little more than a Maleceptor or even 4 Zoanthropes for the same damage potential. Its signature power, Psychic Overloard, doesn’t do much damage at all. Doing 1 mortal wound to up to 6 units is pretty meh, and a possible 3 is good, but only 16% of the time, and it would certainly be stronger if it was simply do 6 mortal wounds, distributed as you’d like, to X amount of units within Y or just do a smite aura in general. The fact that you also have to turn off all your powers for that turn to do this is just silly as I’d almost always want to do 2d3 mortal wounds to one target than 1 mortal wound to 6. The only time this is really useful is if you cannot get a good angle on a target, and the aura lets you hit other targets, but then again, 1 mortal wound, maaaaybe 3, is just not worth it. The Maleceptor cannot fight well at all with only 3 attacks and WS 4+, and it brings no shooting or any other means of doing damage. Really, it is just a missed opportunity. Balancing psykers and monsters is tough, but it seems that GW just went a bit too conservative here.
30/100. A pretty solid fail. The Maleceptor just doesn’t work as intended, and it needs some serious revision to be worth it on the table unless it was suddenly sub-100 points. That wraps up the Elites folks, and next time, we are going to look at the fast stuff. Thanks as always for reading; The Hive Mind loves you all equally.
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