Tyranid Codex Review – Heavy Support: Tyrannofex

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today we look at our biggest bug with the biggest gun, the mighty Tyrannofex!  If you want to roll big damage from the safety of your own deployment zone, this is your bug.  As always, you should also see all the wonderful writing that is collected just for you, dear reader, over at the Tactics Corner.

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Fleshborer Hive – 18″ Heavy 20 S5 AP0 D1 gun.
  • Acid Spray – 18″ Heavy 2d6 S7* AP-1 Dmg D3 gun.
  • Rupture Cannon – 48″ Heavy 3 S10 AP-3 Dmg D6 gun.
  • Stinger Salvoes – 24″ Assault 4 S5 AP-1 D1 gun.
  • Powerful Limbs – S7* AP-1 D2 melee weapon.

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.
  • Bio-Tank: Ignores the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons.
  • Weapon Beast: If you did not move, can shoot all weapons twice.
  • Death Throes: Explodes on a 6, doing d3 mortal wounds to everything within 3″.

The bio-tank is back thanks to a big points drop from Chapter Approved 2018. On the happy side of the Hive Fleet, the Tyrannofex is one of our beefiest Monsters with T8 and 14 wounds with a 3+ save.  That is a lot of biomass to chew through at range.  Just like the Exocrine, the Tyrannofex can sit still and shoot twice, which is immensely important for its weapons, and it makes all of them rather scary.  The most optimal seems to be Acid Spray for an 18 inch, 2d6, S7 (when healthy) Dmg D3 flamer.  That’s pretty intense for an auto-hit weapon, and it is actually one of our best weapons against flyers or anything else that tries to stack to-hit penalties. It is also only 25 points, so that is a lot of kill for the points against a large variety of targets and it certainly pairs well with Pathogenic Slime for D3+1 damage. Throw this bad bug in a Tyrannocyte, and it becomes a real flank-roller that can land a big hit first and if you charge it? Eat 2d6 overwatch hits.  Especially if you hit a weaker flank, a lot of armies will struggle to bring the big bug down, and few backfield units really want to take 2d6 S7 hits.  You could even use an Acid Spray T-Fex as a sort of board control, deploying in the middle of your army near an objective, and well, anything that tries to come take that objective is coming into flamer range, and maybe even double-tapping, and 4d6 autohits, that’s pretty nasty.  You can be more aggressive and spend the first turn getting up the field to have the T-fex guard a central objective.  As the Acid Spray also auto-hits, a 1 wound T-Fex is really just as effective as a healthy T-Fex. Funny enough, with to the new Genestealer Cults, their assault out of deepstrike tactics don’t quite work well against this bug, so its stock goes up a bit against the biomass with delusions of grandeur.

Fleshborer Hives are the cheapest option, and they do offer something rather unique. With 20 shots at 18 inches, up to 40 if you can double tap, that is a lot of heat to throw on a unit, but with Scorch Bugs, you can get +1 to wound, and with Pathogenic Slime, you can get Damage 2, and that starts to add up even against heavier targets.  This is CP expensive though, but it does offer some trickiness that can catch people off guard, especially since a Fleshborer T-Fex only costs 174 points. To math it out a bit, for 3 CP, assuming double-tap, a Fleshborer T-Fex does 6.6 wounds to a Knight, just about twice of what a Exocrine can do for only 4 more points and close to what a T-Fex with the big gat can do to a Knight. If you pop just Scorch Bugs, for 1 CP, that same Fleshborer T-Fex kills 13.7 Orks.  This gives the Fleshborer T-Fex a lot of tactical flexibility as the Fleshborer Hive is great for taking on hordes, but if you have the CPs, it can also do damage to much harder targets.

The big bazooka, the Rupture Cannon, is a mighty S10, AP-3, Dmg D6 weapon. This makes it our hardest hitting ranged weapon in the entire army save for the Dire-Biocannons of the Hierophant.  With a 48 inch range, you can comfortably sit the T-Fex in the backfield and get two blasts, so that’s 6 total.  If you are really looking for that high quality, high damage ranged attacks, the Rupture Cannon is really our best weapon, but it also costs the most.  While the Rupture Cannon is swingy, it is easy to be seduced by the promise of 6 damage a hit.  While it is just as likely to roll all 1s, it is hard to ignore the possibility of rolling all 6s for damage.  It is a gamble, very much so, but it is really the one of the only weapons that Tyranids have that even has a mathematical chance of killing a Knight at range. The Tyrannofex does fight slightly better than the Exocrine with an additional attack at the same profile, so 2 damage and S7.  Again, small, fast moving units need to be wary of thinking that a Tyrannofex is an easy mark, but again, if your T-Fex is in combat, something is not going well for you.

The Hive Fleet here again changes the math a lot. If you want full throated power for the long-range bombs like the Rupture Cannon, then Kronos is essential. Getting the reroll 1s to hit in shooting really helps.  It also can help the Fleshborer T-Fex as if it gets to double tap, you really notice what an 8% increase in hits means when you are throwing 40 dice. If you want even more resilience, Jormungandr is great for a 2+ save T8 model, one that can easily have a -1 to hit modifier put on top.  That is some serious ranged protection right there, and for Fleshborer or Acid Spray T-Fexes who will walk up the board, it can definitely keep them alive for quite some time. All of its weapons are heavy, so you can’t advance and shoot them, so you will easily keep the Jormungandr buff.  Again, Leviathan is quasi-workable with the 6+ Feel No Pain, but a 2+ save is generally better for actual damage mitigation. With 14 wounds though, getting a 6+ Feel No Pain is like getting 2 more wounds for free.  The others just don’t work well for what this bug wants to do.

On the downside, the Tyrannofex does not have the cool targeting rules of the Exocrine, so it is relying on BS 4+ at all times. That sucks. Even with the Fleshborer Hives, it makes the Tyrannofex very weak to any army that has -1 to hit on their units, and forget about it at -2.  Even with no hit penalty, at BS 4+, The Rupture Cannon becomes super swingy as it is either going to go off and do big, big damage, or it is going to miss most of its shots.  It is a CP hungry beast if you take the Rupture Cannon to try and make sure those big hits stick, and depending what else you have in your army, you may want to throw on Pathogenic Slime for D6+1 damage.  A Kronos T-Fex that stands still with the Cannon against a Knight with no Rotate Ion Shields is still only doing  7.03 wounds, and that’s including Pathogenic Slime.  So for over 200 points and 2 CPS, you are doing some of the most damage Tyranids can do at range. Again, that’s good numbers for Tyranids, but it is not impressive or really that efficient.   For our premiere anti-tank weapon, it sure isn’t all that great at taking on the biggest threats out there unless you are taking multiples. That said, taking 2 or 3 Tyrannofexes means that you can do huge damage at range, and while expensive, even a Castellan can’t take them all out in one volley.

The other two weapons, Acid Spray and Fleshborer Hive, are short ranged, which means the Tyrannofex has to move to increase its threat range or arrive via Tyrannocyte, but both prevent the double shoot that turn, and then you are hoping it will survive to be able to plant its feet and shoot twice in the next turn.  This is not ideal to say the least.  The Fleshborer hive can be a good anti-horde weapon, but 30 devil-gants to do it way better although for more points.   Acid Spray is a great weapon, but again, with its low speed, you aren’t getting into range on the first turn if you go first unless it is to eat Scouts or those nifty new Marines.  If you do go the Tyrannocyte route, that’s another 100 points, and without a screen, the Tyrannofex is going to get wrapped up and then it is mostly useless. Just like the Exocrine, the Tyrannofex needs a synapse babysitter, especially if it is going to sit in the back and snipe although with the acid spray, the penalty to hit is really not that big of a deal.  This bugs gets real pricey too, so you are making a large investment in a model that just may not do what you want it to do.   Again, it also suffers from the Castellan problem: even with a 2+ save and -1 to hit, the Castellan is going to kill it more times than not, and the Tyrannofex isn’t going to kill the Castellan if it goes first.

70/100. Barely passing but passing none the less. All the weapons provide real utility and work for the Hive Fleets, but this bug is an investment, and really, one on its own is not too scary, but several? Now that is interesting.  Thanks as always for reading, and just in case you missed it, SoCal has one more GT to add to the schedule, so check it out and get those ITC points!

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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.

6 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Heavy Support: Tyrannofex”

  1. Dakkath March 17, 2019 11:33 am #

    The T-fex and Exocrine (and hammerhead) should have gotten shoot twice for half movement like all the other races heavy tanks.

    • N.I.B. March 18, 2019 1:01 am #

      Yeah, T-fex really needed the same love Leman Russes got. But Cruddace loves his Astra Militarum, he don’t care about nids

      T-fex should obviously have BS3, it’s plain bad at its job as it stands.

      Acid Spray should’ve been an Assault weapon.

  2. DaleM March 18, 2019 7:22 am #

    Wow, the complaint department must be full with wishlist BS from you types. Everyone wants more than they get. Even AM players have gripes so excuse me while I make the most with what we got. And I love my Acid-fex’s performance BTW.

  3. Reecius March 19, 2019 9:05 am #

    The T-Fex is a great unit apart from the fact that it’s so vulnerable to things like the Castellan. That out of the equation though, it’s a really strong unit IME once you get in to position for a very reasonable points cost.

    • DaleM March 19, 2019 2:46 pm #

      Well, it looks like GW is pretty happy with the “state of the game” and announced the Big FAQ due out soon won’t be making any big changes meaning Castellan’s are going to continue to plague the meta rendering most Nid monsters practically useless at the tournament level.

      • Reecius March 19, 2019 4:13 pm #

        Well, you may be jumping to conclusions there but we’ll see.

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