Tyranid Codex Review – Heavy Support: Toxicrene

Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here as always, and just like usual, today we are talking bugs. I love this kit, so very much, but while the Toxicrene looks beyond cool, it just never seems to live up to that on the tabletop.  If you want to not just look slick but play slick, then check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Massive Toxic Lashes (melee) – S7* AP-2 Dmg D3 melee weapon that rerolls failed wound rolls and this model always fights first in the fight phase as if it charged.
  • Massive Toxic Lashes (shooting) – Range 12″ Assault D6 S7* AP-2 Dmg D3 gun that rerolls failed wound rolls and can fire when within 1″ of an enemy unit and target enemy units within 1″.
  • Choking Spores – Range 12″ Assault D6 S3 AP 0 Dmg D3 gun that rerolls failed wound rolls and ignores cover.

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.
  • Acid Blood: Each time you lose a wound, roll a D6 after the attacking unit finishes all of its attacks. Do 1 mortal wound for each 6 you roll.
  • Hypertoxic Miasma: At the end of the Fight phase, roll a D6 for each enemy model within 1″. On a 6, that model’s unit suffers a mortal wound.
  • Frenzied Death Throes: When it dies, roll a D6. On a 6, every unit within 3″ takes 3 mortal wounds.

A super cool looking monster that brings both melee and shooting, but it is unfortunately missing that special something. The Toxicrene was an overlooked gem in 7th edition because it was cheap and still capable of kicking some butt, but in 8th, it hasn’t quite recaptured that magic. The Toxicrene still has some nice features though, namely a decent stat-line for the price. Chapter Approved 2018 helped make this bug about as budget as you are going to get.  You get T7, 12 wounds, and a 3+ save for 140  points.  When healthy, a Toxicrene also boasts some pretty reliable damage in melee with S7 and 6 attacks.  With AP -2 and damage D3, this isn’t Knight killer weaponry, but it does excel at taking out medium/heavy infantry and light vehicles. A big feature is that the Toxicrene gets to reroll wounds, and that is pretty damn nice as it saves you spending a CP on it, and with a healthy WS of 3+, it is decently accurate.   The Toxicrene has a decent amount of shooting with Spores  and Tentacles that are Assault D6, and it can all reroll wounds, which is never bad. Shockingly, it is all damage D3, which can cause some surprising spikes.  A Toxicrene that gets close to a unit can put down some firepower before charging in to get even more personal.  If it is still on combat during your shooting phase, you also get to send out the tentacles before swinging in with them, so it becomes like having 6+d6 attacks. All of its weapons are assault, so it can advance and get still lay down a bit of fire although at BS 4+, that gets inaccurate real quick.  For overall threat, the Toxicrene isn’t bad, and again, rerolling wounds is huge, especially for free.

The Toxicrene also has two different mechanics to cause mortal wounds in the melee phase, and while not all that guaranteed, it could help against a high value target or trim down a large infantry unit.  When you factor in acid blood and hyper toxic miasma, any horde unit doing damage can take a surprising hit back from just these special rules, especially since it has a decent sized base, so you can get a lot of models within 1 of it.  That said, don’t expect huge numbers here either. It is really more just a bit of extra spice to add into everything.  If you can get that 6 when it dies, that’s another 3 mortal wounds to everyone within 3, which can absolutely ruin someone’s day or your own if it died to shooting. Another fun rule to remember is that the Toxicrene always fights first along with chargers, so if your opponent is charging several targets in the same phase, they can easily forget that the Toxicrene gets to swing next.  While not always a game-changer, it can certainly throw a wrench into enemy plans easy enough.

When selecting Hive Fleets, the fluffiest choice is sadly the worst.  Gorgon gives no benefit to the Toxicrene as it rerolls all wounds anyway.  It also can’t take Toxin Sacs so the Gorgon stratagem is a non-factor.  Jormungandr is a solid choice for the 2+ save to shooting, making it a hardy target although slowing it down. With native movement of 8″, it can still move somewhat quickly, but really, it is about first turn defense more than anything.  Kraken is a good choice for the extra speed, and a Toxicrene needs to be close to do damage, so moving it across the board as fast as possible is key.  You can certainly go for the old Kraken missile and use Opportunistic Advance + Onslaught for a first turn charge with the big squid.  Pair that with a first turn charge from some Swarmlord’ed Genestealers, and you got yourself a party. If you are taking GSC/Brood Brother allies, being able to blast apart a screen on Turn 1 and throwing this squidy into your opponent’s midfield can cause some real problems.   Especially since a Toxicrene is only 140 points, if it dies afterwards, that’s not too big of a loss.  Leviathan can be an interesting choice if you have fast Synapse (like a Broodlord) to stick close to it to give it that 6+ Feel No Pain.  This adds another layer of survivability on an already cheap chassis, which can add up to extra value.  Plus, the Leviathan Stratagem, if you have a support unit that can Fly, is very helpful for this bug as it really also wants any reroll to hit it can get. Behemoth is alright for the reroll to charge and the 2+ do a mortal wound stratagem.  Kronos and Hydra aren’t really that helpful for it.

This all seems great, right? The problem with the Toxicrene is that it just doesn’t have enough in any one avenue. It is not objectively bad at anything it does, but it is also just not objectively good enough at any one thing to prioritize it over others.   It is not fast enough to really guarantee that it is going to get into the scrum as movement 8 is good, but it needs Onslaught to advance and charge, which is what makes Genestealers so damn fast, and you don’t need to roll a psychic power for the ‘stealers.  The Toxicrene does not shoot well enough to really threaten most targets, either a high volume to hurt hordes or high value to take down elite infantry or vehicles.  The shooting is also random as you could have 12 shots or 2 shots, and that kind of variance isn’t ideal at all, especially for a model with BS 4+.  To think of it another way, you are really on average getting 2d3 hits out of its shooting attacks, and well, 2-6 hits isn’t all that great at the end of the day.  It’s range is also only 12 inches, so it has to be in the front of the fight.

The Toxicrene does not fight well enough as AP -2 is workable, but against hard targets, this isn’t enough when paired with damage D3, and it doesn’t have enough attacks to really take a big chunk out of a horde unit.  It certainly fights better than it shoots, but it exists in a gray area, which can be tactically flexible, but it lacks the real pop that it needs to stand out from the pack.  If you want a big, fighting beast, a Trygon has more pop/accuracy and a Haruspex is tougher/does more damage, and really, if you want melee, Genestealers are just superior. If you want a big shooty beast, Exocrines and Tyrannofexs are better, and let’s face it, if you want shooting, Hive Guard or Devil-Gants are better.  The Toxicrene is definitely a utility piece that can do a bit of everything, but it doesn’t do enough of anything to really earn a spot over the usual suspects. If it was even cheaper, being the most budget version of the above, then maybe it would start to see some serious consideration. Even at 140, which is cheaper than all of the above options, it just doesn’t do as much, point for point.  It also lacks a certain amount of defense. At best, you got a -1 to hit, 2+ save at T7, which is good, but in how deadly shooting is in this game, it is not good enough to survive, especially since it really loses effectiveness once it takes damage and you are stuck with WS 4+ or 5+ and 5 or 4 attacks.  T7 is also miles away from T8 as bolters wounding on 5s is bad for the Toxicrene.   My beautiful, beautiful squidy-beastie just doesn’t have that one thing about it that makes it special.

65/100. Unfortunately, failing here but not by much.  The Toxicrene just needs a little bit more to be worthy of acute interest, but in anything but hyper competitive play, it is a damn fun toy to put out. Thanks as always for reading, and don’t forget that if you are around Los Angeles in a few weeks, you should totally check out Battle for Los Angeles. I’ll be there repping the Hive Fleets.

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.

8 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Heavy Support: Toxicrene”

  1. DaleM April 12, 2019 2:13 pm #

    I kinda like my Toxicrene for the reason that it can work against a variety of targets. Bringing a built-in Voracious Appetite helps a lot with T8 and any more AP on it’s attacks will most likely be wasted against anything with Invul saves. I definitely like the idea of slamming this guy into hordes. I run it with Jorm and Metabolic Overdrive him for a 16″ move that doesn’t erase my 2+. I’m not saying it deserves an A grade or even a B, but it does work when there’s other scarier units your opponent needs to deal with first. He only has 8″ range on his Massive Toxic Lashes BTW.

  2. WestRider April 12, 2019 2:16 pm #

    I feel like the Biggest Wharglarbl would be best if it got re-designed to focus a bit more on Anti-Horde. Maybe an alternate mode for the tentacles where they get twice as many Attacks, but only S5 D1 or something. Also, GW’s thing for WS/BS4+ big monsters needs to stop.

    • DaleM April 12, 2019 2:36 pm #

      Toxicrene has a 3+ WS (when healthy, of course).

      • WestRider April 12, 2019 3:48 pm #

        Oh, cool! I haven’t looked too closely at it because I don’t own one, so I assumed it was the same as most of the rest. As a general thing, I feel the point still stands, tho.

  3. Brakhal April 13, 2019 12:34 am #

    Whenever I look at the Toxicrene, I see a more expensive Broodlord, trading the psychic power for horrible short range bs4+ shooting, without the character keyword, slower, degrading, and hitting less often and softer.

    I can’t understand why melee monsters are so bad, when you compare them with melee characters. Usually around the same amount of attacks, but worst ws, less movement, no auras/powers, the degrading thing… And yet they are more expensive. It doesn’t makes sense.

    • DaleM April 13, 2019 9:33 am #

      Well, I think you missed the point of the Toxicrene here. He’s supposed to deal with hordes. I think think a Broodlord can effectively do that. Look, if you really boil it down, the Toxicrene is just a suicide bomber. You throw him into a crowded spot and watch him die taking the enemy down with you. (Read: Acid Blood, Hypertoxic Miasma and Frenzied Death Throes)

      • Brakhal April 13, 2019 10:02 am #

        That’s conceptually interesting, but mechanically clunky. “Revenge” mechanics are generally clunky, as they depend on how the enemy engages you, and they get almost meaningless when working only on 6s (which happens with the 3 of them).

        While I like the concept of acid blood resources, they don’t impact the game at all (at least usually). because of how low is the chance to return a mortal, and how the opponent can keep the distance, or twist the tempo, to avoid them.

        If at least acid blood resources were on a 5+, it would be something to force the opponent to play around it.

        • DaleM April 13, 2019 10:21 am #

          That’s why he has 6 attacks and WS3+, so you don’t need to rely on fishing for 6’s for him to something. Moral of the story here is don’t use Toxicrene alone without other dangerous monsters.

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