Tyranid Codex Review – Fortification: Sporocyst

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we look at our only Fortification, the elusive Sporocyst.  How many times have you seen this bad bug out and about?  As always, if you want to up your game, check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner!

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Spore Node – Range 9″ Heavy 1.  If you hit, on a 1, nothing, on 2-5, d3 mortal wounds, and on a 6, d6 mortal wounds.  If you miss, you can place either 1 Mucolid Spore or a unit of 3 spore mines within 6 inches of the target but more than 3 inches away.  The spores cannot move or charge this turn, and this weapon cannot overwatch.
  • Deathspitter – Range 24″ Assault 3 S5 AP-1 D1 gun
  • Barbed Strangler – Range 36″ Assault D6 S5 AP-1 D1 gun. Add +1 to hit rolls against a unit with 10 or more models
  • Venom Cannon – Range 36″ Assault D3 S8 AP-2 Dmg D3 gun

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.
  • Bombardment Organism*: You can put the Sporocyst into reserve, and if you do, at the beginning of the first battle round, you can set it up anywhere more than 9″ away from any enemy models. *If using the Tactical Reserves Beta rules in Chapter Approved 2018, this rule has been errated, and the Sporocyst can simply deploy anywhere on the table more than 9″ away from an enemy model/deployment zone.
  • Bio-Fortress: The Sporocyst can shoot even if they are enemies within 1″ of it.
  • Spawn Spore Mines: At the end of your movement phase, you can create a unit of 3 spore mines or 1 Mucolid spore. It must be set up wholly within 6 inches of the Sporocyst and more than 1″ away from enemy models.
  • Psychic Resonator – While a Sporocyst is within 12″ of a HIVE FLEET synapse creature, it gains the Synapse keyword and ability.
  • Death Throes – When it dies, on a 6, it does D3 mortal wounds to all units within 3″.
  • Immobile – This model cannot move for any reason.

Hey, we have an official Fortification now! The Sporocyst has changed roles and changed its outlook on life after meeting with a life coach, but it needs to get its money back. As a Fortification, the Sporocyst doesn’t have the most impressive statline, but it does provide something unique. It can be dropped down at the start of the first turn, essentially allowing it deploy anywhere more than 9 inches from an enemy (unless using the Beta rules in CA 2018). If using CA 2018, they actually get better and simply get to deploy anywhere on the board more than 9″ away from an enemy unit or their deployment zone, so they become like our own version of Nurglings/Scouts.   This can be useful for denying enemy movement and pinning their forward units down into their deployment zone or somewhere less advantageous.  This really helps against some armies, especially if you get the chance to place down a unit first as you can suddenly control a big portion of the center or a side objective. If you are going first, it can also be an easy way to make sure that your first turn charges are within synapse as most of our Synapse creatures are fast enough to get the Sporocyst into range.  That can really help shy little Malanthropes/Neurothropes project their Synapse without exposing themselves too much.  While the Sporocyst is designed to be up front and help stretch out your Synapse without risking your precious leader bugs,  if you go the opposite route, as a backfield piece, as long as it has Synapse within 12, it can help extend your synapse and keep your backfield nice and fearless.

The Sporocyst is also all about that board control with two different ways to drop down either spore mines or Mucolids.  Just like with Biovores, if the Sporocyst misses with its Spore Node, you can place 3 spore mines or 1 Mucolid within 6 of the target and more than 3 away.  This can be hilarious and when teamed with Biovores as you can suddenly fill the board with our little floating bombs to restrict movement and absorb smites. At the end of the movement phase, you can also drop down a unit of 3 spore mines or 1 Mucolid within 6 of it (and more than 1 inch from enemies), and this is one of the only ways to guarantee that a Mucolid will go off. If there was a unit that go close but not within charge range (or failed their charge), you can be sure to get a Mucolid close enough to go off.   You can spawn the Mucolids/Spores behind the Sporocyst and use them as a means of protecting against charges as anyone getting close to the Sporocyst is going to be within 3 of them, or you can use them as charge blockers to keep the Sporocyst safe.  This is not a bad way to fill out an empty backfield by creating lots of little orbs of death to float on and zone out reserves as well as provide some mortal wounds to anything that does start to threaten your backfield.

The Sporocyst also packs 5 guns, and it can still take a choice of 5 deathspitters/venom cannons/barbed stranglers, which gives it decent firepower.  The Barbed strangler is generally worth the points as it helps the Sporocyst put in work against large units as 5D6 shots at BS 4+ is much better than 15 shots at BS 5+ most times.  Chapter Approved 2018 helped here too by lowering the prices of the bigger guns, so the Sporocyst isn’t as expensive as it could be. Granted, if points are tight, you really are relying on spores to do damage, not its guns.

Hive Fleet here does offer a little something. Jormungandr isn’t bad for a constant 3+ save to shooting, which helps out a lot.  Seeing as how this bug never moves, you are always getting that cover bonus. Kronos also isn’t bad as getting the reroll 1s helps even out that 5+ BS, and with Barbed Stranglers, BS 4+ with a reroll 1s is as good as this bug is going to get.  None of the others really matter much though as it is never charging, and while it can fight in combat as it is technically a Monster, not a Building, Gorgon isn’t all that helpful for rerolling 1s to wound.

The problem with the Sporocyst is that it is just anemic when compared to other Fortifications. T6 and 12 wounds is pretty laughable, especially with only a 4+ save.  Chances are, the Sporocyst is going to be right in front of your opponent’s army, and well, that means it is just the first thing to die.  It really doesn’t take much to shoot the Sporocyst to death, and again, since it will likely be close, it is going to be in range of everything. It is also a huge and impressive model, so it is quite difficult to hide it.  The Sporocyst really, really needs to be more durable to survive, and at anywhere from 104-139 points, that is nowhere cheap enough to not care if it dies without doing anything other than slightly blocking movement or scout units if you don’t go first.  Since it is a Fortification, you need to take a special detachment to include one, and depending on your army build, you may not have a third Detachment to use at 2K points.  It really does limit your ability to just slot one in, and so if you are hell bent on taking one, you need to really build your army around it.  The Sporocyst also gets none of the cool abilities as other Fortifications as it cannot hide infantry inside, and really, for its points, you are not getting much durability or even offensive power from it.   The Mucolid Launcher is cool, but at only range 9, it does not threaten much, and it cannot even drop down into range for at least one chance to do some mortal wounds. The Sporocyst is reactive that way; it requires your opponent to come to you.   Coupled with its lack of overall durability, it is just not doing what it needs to do.   Really, its best use is either to drop down in front of your opponent to help pin them in a bit and hope for first turn to get out some more spores or as a backfield Synapse beacon to help a single Neurothrope cover more of your shooty elements, but for roughly 120 points, it is just better to take another Neurothrope and reap the savings. If you really want to have a way to mess with opponents, the Sporocyst is just not the way to do it.


35/100. Failing, and failing hard, and really, Sporecysts either need to be cheaper or (much) hardier. We are almost done, and next week will be the last of the codex, sad to say.  Maybe I’ll move on to the Forgeworld stuff, just for completion’s sake.  If you are free next weekend, come check out Battle for Los Angeles, a GT that is only a couple tickets left from being a Major. Just saying.


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.

One Response to “Tyranid Codex Review – Fortification: Sporocyst”

  1. Avatar
    WestRider April 21, 2019 3:00 am #

    It’s a shame, because there is a lot of potential there. Anything that can get outside your DZ before the Game actually begins is pretty strong, and can be crucial against other Armies that have the same or similar abilities (o hai Vanguard Primaris). But it’s too expensive to just toss out there solely for that. If you’re preparing for an event where you know there’s going to be a big solid LoS blocker in the middle of every table, I could see taking a cheap one, just with DeathSpitters, for pushback and forward Synapse, but that’s pretty niche.

    Also, while the Venom Cannon got a Points drop in CA 2018, the Barbed Strangler didn’t, so that version is as expensive as it ever was.

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