Tyranid Codex Review – Heavy Support: Trygon (and Prime!)

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today we have another 2 for 1, the super snakes themselves, the Trygon and Trygon Prime! With a mix of heavy melee and reserve tricks, these sly slither-slugs can be a big surprise if used well. If you want to continue to up your 40k savvy, check out the Tactics Corner.

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Massive Scything Talons – S7 AP-3 Dmg D6 reroll 1s to hit, and with 2 or more sets, +1 attack
  • Biostatic rattle – S7 AP -1 D1. One (and only one) additional attack using this weapon. If it causes an unsaved wound, the target adds 1 to its next morale test.
  • Prehensile Pincer Tail – S7 AP0 Dmg D3. One (and only one) additional attack using this weapon.
  • Toxinspike – S1 AP 0 Dmg D3.  One (and only one) additional attack using this weapon. Always wounds on a 2+ (except against vehicles).
  • Adrenal Glands – +1 to advance/charge
  • Toxin Sacs – A wound roll of 6 causes 1 additional damage.
  • Bio-electric Pulse – Range 12″ Assault 6 S5 AP0 D1 gun. (Trygon only) 
  • Bio-electric Pulse with Containment Spines – Range 12″ Assault 12 S5 AP0 D1 gun. (Prime only) 

Special Rules:

  • Subterranean Assault: You can set up a Trygon/Prime in reserve, and at the same time, set up a HIVE FLEET Troops unit along with it. When the Trygon/Prime pops up, you can bring in the unit, but both most be more than 9″ from any enemy, and the Troops unit must be wholly within 3″ of the Trygon/Prime.
  • Death Throes: When the snake dies, on a 6, every unit within 3″ takes d3 mortal wounds.
  • 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.  (Trygon only)
  • Shadow in the Warp: -1 to psychic tests within 18″. Does not affect TYRANID units.(Prime only)
  • Synapse: Fearless bubble of 12 inches.  (Prime Only)

The big snakes are back and better than ever thanks to a functioning Tunneling rule as well as a nice points reduction from Chapter Approved 2018.  If you don’t have at least one, now is a good time to get them. It is easy to think of the Trygon as a delivery mechanism as opposed to anything else, and that’s fair in some ways, but their combat prowess isn’t a joke either. With 7 attacks at WS 3+ rerolling 1s when healthy, S7 AP -3 and dmg D6, that is some tasty output.  While it isn’t the raw power to wound Knights on a 4+ or 3+, for 1 CP, you do get to reroll wounds as a Monster, so they are wounding a little bit better than 50% of the time against Knights.  This means on average, they are going to do  about 8.6 wounds to a Knight in melee, which clearly isn’t one-rounding it, but if you’ve been paying attention, Tyranids don’t have a lot of great options for doing lots of damage quickly to T8 3+ targets, but the Trygon isn’t bad for how much it costs in this regard.  Let’s also factor in that there are plenty of other targets where the Trygon is going to reap a heavy, heavy toll like medium vehicles or just about anything that isn’t T8 or does not have a 3++.  Lest we forget, damage D6 is actually rare in the codex, so the big snakes can easily spike to do massive, massive damage. Of course, live by the D6, die by the D6 as they can also fail pretty hard too. The Trygon and Trygon Prime also have access to our best upgrade on anything that can come in from reserves, Adrenal Glands, so charging out of reserve isn’t a pipe-dream for them.  An 8 inch charge, particularly with a reroll, starts to creep you up to just about making it more times than not, and while again, this doesn’t mean they are going to stick their charge every time, they will at least do it more times than they fail, in the long run. They do have some guns, and with the Prime, you are paying for the extra 6 shots, but these are just some side benefits, not anything that really makes them work well. Still, as they can pop in from reserve, being able to put a few shots into the backfield at small, objective camping units isn’t bad.

The other slice of heaven is that Trygons can arrive via reserve but more importantly, the Tunneling rule allows them to bring with them any Troops choice.  No size restriction, just a single Troops unit.  Seeing as how our Troops choices are actually legitimately good, this opens up a whole host of plays.  Whether it’s a mass of Genestealers to suddenly threaten a flank, 30 Devil-Gants punching a hole through chaff, or even Warriors with some Deathspitter action, you not only get to deploy a unit onto the table, you also have a big melee threat suddenly there as well.  Since there is no unit size restriction and all of our Troops choices at max unit size can fit wholly within 3 inches of that big, big base, (except for Warriors I think: haven’t mathed it out yet) you have a big advantage here over Tyrannocytes as now you can bring in 30 Devil-Gants or 30 Hormagaunts.  Again, the Trygon is also a legitimate melee threat, and well, it can just do more consistent damage than Tyrannocyte.  Granted, Trygons are more expensive than Tyrannocytes, but you get a lot more bug for the points.

The Prime is a bit more expensive, but on demand Synapse can be essential, especially if you have a fast moving army that will likely leave the backfield Synapse in the dust.  Trygon Primes and Devil-Gants work well together since you can drop anywhere on the table and your Gants will still be able to target whomever they want with no penalty. Don’t forget the simple board control presence of suddenly filling a poorly defended corner of the board with 30 fearless Obsec infantry and a big melee threat.  The Prime provides a fun trick as it is a Character, so you can heroically intervene with it if something charges the unit it brings up,  so if you position well, you can get that bug in there and have some fun.  Since the Prime is also a character, you can give them a Bio-Artefact like Ymgarl Factor for hopefully S8 or 8 attacks, but if going Kraken, giving the Prime -1 to hit at range can be nice if you aren’t running a Flyrant/Tervigon.  Even the Norn Crown isn’t bad to have a 30″ bubble to turn off Instinctive Behavior.  If you are really dedicated to the GSC Mental Onslaught bomb, a Prime with Ultrasonic Roar can stack yet another -1 to a target’s leadership, but that’s a bit corner case.

Hive Fleet can be very helpful here.  Jormungandr is fluffy, but also giving the Trygons a 2+ save when they appear can really make them hard to shift at range. You can also double up on the tunneling and spend CP to have a Trygon bring up a Troops unit and another infantry unit for double the fun. This works well if you are bringing several smaller threats up like a small unit of Warriors and Pyrovores rather than trying to make 50+ models fit around the base. The snakes are inherently fast, so as Kraken, you can actually deploy them on the board as just a melee threat rather than a delivery system, and doing a first turn Onslaught, Opportunistic Advance, charge can really catch people off guard and get one of our only D6 damage melee attacks into your enemy on turn 1.  If using the old school “I deploy first, then you deploy” format, especially against Knights, you can set up a first turn charge out of nowhere.  Allowing them to fall back and charge is also huge as the snakes do not like horde units, so being able to slither away and still go get some is awesome.

Leviathan is not bad for the Prime as it essentially gives it a 6+ Feel No Pain, and since the Prime itself is Synapse, it makes it easier to get give that buff to whomever it brings up like Devil-Gants or Genestealers.  While Genestealers are best with Swarmlord, Leviathan Stealers popping up with a Prime on turn 3 is a relatively resilient unit that your opponent has to deal with, and a 5++/6+ FnP can be annoying to chew through, especially in the mid-game.  If you are going for charges out of reserve, Behemoth saves you CP for the re-roll to charge and let’s all of your Trygons coming up on the same turn get the reroll.  If you want to slot in some real anti-armor punch, a Behemoth Spearhead with Trygons and a Neurothrope/Tyranid Prime is a relatively cheap way to add a lot of heavy melee threat to a list. Gorgon’s reroll 1s to wound helps the Trygon be a more efficient infantry sweeper, and if you are just die-hard want to make Toxin Sacs work, a Gorgon Trygon is about the best platform for that as +1 damage on a 5+ to wound (with Stratagem) can really help even out the probability curve of dmg d6. With Kronos, you can spread Shadow of the Warp and The Deepest Shadow around the board thanks to coming in from reserves.  Hydra is not too helpful for the Trygons, but then it is quite helpful for the little bugs that ride along with the Trygon.

The downside to the Trygons are, well, they aren’t so cheap that they are totally disposable, they can be tarpitted, and they aren’t going to last to any real punch.  The Trygon isn’t a super expensive unit at 148 base for the Trygon and 178 for the Prime. This isn’t a bad price at all, but it isn’t a steal, and the problem is not necessarily with their cost on their own, it’s that they will often be taken with something else, so you are paying for the transport and the unit, which again, starts eating up a lot of points.  A Prime plus 30 Devil-Gants is 418 points, just a touch more than 20% of a standard 2K army for just one punch. Granted, it is a good punch, but that is quite a bit of points that also may not do much against certain builds, namely heavy armor where 90 S4 shots isn’t all that scary.  Going this route isn’t something you can easily splash into an army, so if you go with it, you are building around it to some extent.  Trygons are Monsters who can’t fly, so infantry can hide from them in buildings/ruins, and Trygons don’t put out enough attacks to actually blender through a chaff unit, so they get tarpitted or even tri-pointed, which can essentially turn them off from the rest of the game. The Trygons also are not overly durable, especially since they are one of our better answers to the nasties out there.  T6 and 12 wounds with a 3+ certainly isn’t bad, but as models like Knights, Magnus, and Mortarion demonstrate, you need an invulnerable save to really have durability, and Trygons get none of that.  A Trygon may take a good bite out of a target, but if any of the big boys get to punch back, they will kill a Trygon with ease.   You need to keep this in mind, and while a Prime can fight again in melee if it dies, at its worst stat-line, it is not all that special or threatening.

80/100. A powerful bug that rewards smart play and smart list building, and a definite must-have in the wider collection, but they are missiles, not anvils. I may or may not be taking some of these bad boys to the Battle for Los Angeles GT, so if you are local at the end of April, check it out!

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.

2 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Heavy Support: Trygon (and Prime!)”

  1. Dakkath March 31, 2019 4:29 am #

    I wanna use a jormungandr trygon to bring in a blob of genestealers and a broodlord at the same time. Should be fun.

    • Reecius March 31, 2019 8:45 am #

      I was using that combo but with 9 Tyranid Warriors, and a Prime. It was a lot of fun!

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