Tyranid Codex Review – Flyers: Hive Crone

Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, talking to you all the way from LVO 2019. If you are reading this Sunday morning, come to the judges’ table and say hi.  Today, we talk about the other big flyer in the Hive Fleet, the Hive Crone! Of course, you’re probably super pumped to see the top 8, and well, a lot of Top 8 level tips and tricks are available right here at the Tactics Corner!

Equipment and Biomorphs:

    • Scything Wings – S6 AP -2 Dmg D3 melee weapon that rerolls 1s to hit
    • Wicked Spur – S8 AP -3 Dmg D3 melee weapon that can only make 1 attack, but this in addition to the bearer’s normal attacks.
    • Stinger Salvo – Range 24″ Assault 4 S5 AP -1 D1 gun
    • Drool Cannon – Range 8″ Assault D6 S6 AP-1 D1 gun that autohits.
    • Tentaclids – Range 36″ Assault 4 S5 AP0 D1 gun that causes mortal wounds to vehicles on a wound roll of 4+ (D3 on a 6+) and rerolls to hit against anything with the FLY keyword.

    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.
    • Death Throes: When the Harpy dies, roll a D6, and on a 6, deal D3 mortal wounds to all units within 3″.

The Hive Crone is a super-fast assault element that also brings some much needed anti-vehicle to the bugs, and thanks to Chapter Approved 2018, it is even just a bit more economical.  The Hive Crone shares just about exact same stat-line as the Harpy, but thanks to Wicked Spur, you do have one extra attack over the Harpy, which if it hits, packs a wallop at S8 AP -2 and D3 damage.  This really helps out the math in favor of the Crone as that extra attack packs enough heat to actually help it do some damage in melee.  The Crone brings different guns with a S6  heavy flamer, which is awesome, but you also get Tentaclids.  They are no longer one shot weapons but rather Assault 2 S5 D1 guns that reroll hits against targets that Fly and do mortal wounds to vehicles on a 4+. This is really helpful as Tyranids struggle against the T8 baddies like Knights, so having a weapon that just does mortal wounds, even if it doesn’t technically wound, is nice to have.  With its high movement value, a Hive Crone can generally stay far away from a Knight and still put some mortal wounds on it.

Like the Harpy, the Crone also has a Stringer Salvo, which is just a little extra flavor.  The Hive Crone actually packs a fair amount of dakka and while Tentaclids are really best at doing wounds to vehicles, there are enough shots at S5 or higher here to do some damage to most targets.   Just like the Harpy, the Hive Crone is an excellent assassination tool, and really, the superior of the two.  With its movement of 30, it is more than fast enough to get a charge off on its own, but more importantly, when coupled with some fun tricks, it can zoom across the board and get into your opponent’s backfield, and with the extra attack, it is much more likely to actually kill a support character in a single round of combat.  Even without a Swarmlord, the Hive Crone zooming 30 up the board and then blasting with its flamer, stingers, and tentaclids is a decent amount of damage to a unit, and the flamer provides some overwatch protection as well.  Really, the flamer is excellent because it is auto-hitting, so the degrading nature of the Hive Crone is mitigated quite a bit.  It can be fun to use the huge movement value of the Hive Crone to line up a flamer blast on a support character, and if you can get all of its guns and its melee into a single target, even tougher characters will wither.

Again, Hive Fleet here is important.  A Kraken Hive Crone is exceptionally fast, and because it has Fly, it can fall back and operate normally.  A Hive Crone is a better choice for the in and out harassment unit than a Harpy simply because it brings a bit much more punch, and again, that flamer alone is scary to a lot of targets.  Being able to charge on a flank against something unlikely to really harm the Crone, do some damage, then next turn, Fall Back over the unit and then light up another unit and perhaps charge a separate unit is just a great way to disrupt your opponent’s backfield.  Behemoth offers the reroll charges and the Stratagem for a 2+ mortal wound, which again can come in real handy for polishing off a support character or just skewing the math in your favor. Gorgon is helpful for rerolling 1s to wound, especially on that tail spike, and Kronos is more about getting that aura spread out by a super fast unit than any other benefit.  Leviathan is sub-par but I suppose not a detriment, and  Hydra and Jormungandr are a no-go.

Just like the Harpy, the downside is that the Crone is not all that durable. T6 and a 4+ save means it is relatively safe from weaker units, but any real threat vector is going to annihilate a Hive Crone, and most moderate strength units will do damage.  They degrade quite quickly and noticeably, and while the flamer helps with that, it definitely means that unless you can engage other threats, a Hive Crone is not going to last long.  Its best defense is to fight weak units or hit a unit that Hormagaunts or Genestealers have already tri-pointed, that way the Hive Crone is safe from shooting and can go do its thing next turn.

4 attacks at WS 4+ isn’t a blender either, so you can’t just throw a Crone into a fight unsupported and expect good things. You are likely going to need to save a CP for the one tail attack because you really, really need it to hit if you are expecting the Hive Crone to do any real damage in melee. Another problem is that the Hive Crone is so fast that it will often go in unsupported, and if you try to wait for reinforcements, the Hive Crone will likely die to any legitimate shooting. It really does need a way to ensure that it gets to go first, but outside of a Tyrannocyte, that isn’t going to happen, and even then, it is not so great at making a 9 inch charge.  There is also the reality that while a Hive Crone is relatively inexpensive, a Flyrant is just better.  By spending more points, you get a much more survivable model that also fights better and can shoot pretty well too. Most times, I’d much rather have a Kraken Flyrant running around than a Hive Crone.  Much like many things in Tyranids, there are just optimal choices, and the Hive Crone isn’t one, but it can be used effectively, especially when paired with some of our more optimal choices.

70/100. Passable for some fun tricks, but not at all the optimal choice in a competitive environment.  Thanks as always for reading, and if you are at LVO right now, feel free to come chat bugs.  Let’s hope we see at least one in the Top 8.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, part of the triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town.

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