Tyranid Codex Review – Dedicated Transport: Tyrannocyte

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I consider myself, the luckiest tendril of the Hive Mind, in the galaxy. Why is that? Well, today is the last unit review of the 8th edition Tyranid Codex, and we end on one of our newest kits (which was a while ago), and one that offers a lot to Hive Commanders of all varieties: the totally tubular Tyrannocyte.  Of course, don’t be shy about checking out all the other wonderful tips and tricks in Frontline’s Tactics Corner!

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Deathspitter – Range 24″ Assault 3 S5 AP-1 D1 gun.
  • Barbed Strangler – Range 36″ Assault D6 S5 AP-1 D1 gun.
  • Venom Cannon – Range 36″ Asssault 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.
  • Invasion Organism: You can set up a Tyrannocyte in Reserve, and it can enter the table more than 9″ away. Any models currently embarked must disembark (following standard rules) and must disembark more than 9″ away from an enemy.  Any that cannot are destroyed.
  • Transport Spore: When this model is set up in reserve, you can also set up a <HIVE FLEET> Infantry unit of 20 or less models or a HIVE FLEET Monster with 14 or less wounds with it. You cannot set up another Tyrannocyte or Sporocyst.
  • Death Throes: When the Tyrannocyte dies, roll a d6. On a 6, it does d3 mortal wounds to all units within 3″.

The Tyranid drop pod is far more useful than other drop pods, and it can radically change how a Tyranid army functions.We can talk about offense/defense of this model, but really, it is more important to think of the Tyrannocyte not as a model but as a strategy to your army.  It can add defensively to your army or increase your alpha-strike. In terms of defense, the Tyrannocyte is a great way to both lower the number or drops in an army as well as ensure that a unit or monster gets to do something before it dies.  Whether it’s a Swarmlord or a Haruspex, being able to protect a big beastie for a few turns is great.   If you have a unit that you want to not be on the board, a Tyrannocyte is the way to go.  Especially with some of the sheer ranged kill out there like Castellans, being able to hide one of your lynchpin pieces can absolutely change the dynamic of a game.  Instead of Tyrant Guard, a Tyrannocyte is not a bad choice to protect Swarmlord as you can decide to put the big bug inside after you’ve seen the terrain, selected your side, and seen what your opponent brings to bear.  While this does cost you the first turn Kraken Genestealer Rocket, if keeping Swarmy alive for 2 turns is more important than a first turn charge, the Tyrannocyte can be worth it. Even if you don’t put anything inside a Tyrannocyte, it can still come in on Turn 3 and take a corner for a secondary mission objective or line breaker.  While Tyranids don’t necessarily have the meanest shooting bugs, dropping down a Dakka-Tyrant on turn 3 or a Tyrannofex with Acid Spray can really befuddle an opponent, or if you are going big time kill denial, putting a 10 Termgant unit in a Tyrannocyte to drop into your own deployment zone on turn 3 while your first line pushes forward can help deny some easy “kill a unit” scores for your opponent.

On offense, a Tyrannocyte drops in a big threat that you need to do its thing just once.  This is ideal for units like Devil-Gants that are squishy, and 60 (or 120) shots can really change the calculus of a game.  Dropping in a melee unit that has adrenal glands can also help as a big squad of melee warriors that actually have a chance to get into combat can do a lot of work, especially for what is considered a sub-standard unit.  Even 20 Hormagaunts can come in and go for the big tie-up to lock down a section of your opponent’s army and trap them for a turn.  The Tyrannocyte also lets you commit a big Monster in the mid-game like a Haruspex.  By this point, you’ve hopefully done enough damage and gotten into the mix where there are less threats capable of dealing with such a heavy target, and now the Haruspex gets a chance to shine.   The Tyrannocyte also can do a bit more damage than before with its simplified shooting, so even at BS 5+, having 15 S5 AP -1 shots or 5D6 S5 AP -1 shots is not bad.  Let’s not forget that the Tyrannocyte can move, albeit slowly, so it can wander off on its own to camp an objective or even try to get deeper into the action.    Really though, it is our only way to bring in a lot of monsters from reserve, and that is worth considering. Even the rarely seen Toxicrene benefits from the Tyrannocyte as it can at least shoot with one of its ranged weapons and hopefully lands in a safer part of the battlefield so it can rampage next turn, or if you really want to run the Hive Crone/Harpy, at least they get to shoot once if you don’t go first.  Thanks to Chapter Approved 2018 lowering the price and making Venom Cannons a bit more reasonable price-wise, you can actually do some budget shenanigans to create a super distraction-Carnifex.  A Deathspitter Tyrannocyte with a Dakka-Fex is only 215 points, about the same as a flyrant with double-devs and claws, but you can drop these two bugs into a corner, and that it becomes a surprising amount of firepower and a little bit of resilience that your opponent might not have the tools to handle and two different targets to engage.  It really sets up a tough choice for an opponent where they either need to dedicate (or even over-dedicate) heavy resources to taking these two out, or let them control a good piece of the board.

Hive Fleet here isn’t all that important but can give some nice bonuses. Jormungandr is not bad for a 3+ save against shooting, which can help even out that the Tyrannocyte is not all that hardy.  If you plan on just keeping your Tyrannocyte where it lands, Kronos can both help spread The Deepest Shadow as well as giving the Tyrannocyte re-roll 1s on its shooting.  With Barbed Stranglers, a Kronos Tyrannocyte can put out 5D6 shots at BS 4+, rerolling 1s, against a horde unit, not all that bad. If you plan to actually send your Tyrannocyte into combat, Behemoth isn’t terrible, and this more fits that if you bring in a melee beasty with it, the re-roll charge definitely helps.   The rest are well, meh.

The downside is durability for the cost and counter-play.  The Tyrannocyte is much cheaper now, so that really helps, but it still isn’t totally disposable either. For the points, are getting 12 T6 wounds at a 4+, which is still under 10 points per wound, so the Tyrannocyte isn’t made of paper, but it also isn’t highly resilient either.  There is also the reality that using a Tyrannocyte means eating into your points limit for reserves.   That doesn’t always leave you a ton of room to reserve other things like Flyrants, besides whatever else you are bringing in the Tyrannocytes.  The cost is also a bit of an issue because thanks to Jormungandr, you have options now, so why spend 100 points when you could maybe spend 1 CP and 60 points for Raveners?  Chapter Approved helped a lot, but it is important to remember that you are spending points on something that really does its job once and is unlikely to contribute that much more in subsequent turns.

Just like all reserves, a Tyrannocyte can also lose some luster if an opponent is smart in their model placement, and it is not hard to deny them good landing spots.  The reality is that a Tyrannocyte only has 2 turns to land and make a big impact, and if your opponent spreads across the board to deny any landing zones, you can be in trouble.  You also have to be sure that you have the means to clear screens or open up landing spots, so you can’t just slot a Tyrannocyte in: you need to complement it well in your general list design for it to be effective. The Tyrannocyte has a decent size base, and regardless of what it is dropping off, it is a pretty large footprint that is easy to zone out.  Lastly, the limit on 20 infantry just means that if you want the full 30 Devil-Gants, you have to take a Trygon.  This isn’t necessarily a huge issue as 20 Devil-Gants in a Tyrannocyte is the budget version that is still effective, but it means that Hormagaunts need to ride with a Trygon to be effective as they often die too fast at 20.

80/100: The Tyrannocyte is a must-own model as it opens up so many plays and tactics, but just don’t go too crazy or you may run out of points to fill them, and well, thanks to Jormungandr, there are other ways to get reserves.  For those that have read them all, dozens upon dozens (well, maybe a dozen) loyal readers, thanks, and well, it’s been emotional.  See you all out there, collecting some bio-mass for our respective Hive Fleets, and remember: the only good bug is a well-fed bug.

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.

4 Responses to “Tyranid Codex Review – Dedicated Transport: Tyrannocyte”

  1. HM April 28, 2019 6:54 am #

    Tyrannocyte has fly keyword
    It does not benefit from jormungandr trait cover save

  2. Dakkath April 28, 2019 3:05 pm #

    The tyrannocyt’s main use is bringing in a monster. For infantry, a trygon or jormungandr’s strat are better.

  3. WestRider April 30, 2019 6:27 am #

    Leviathan seems like it could be viable, too. Drop it in with a Combat beastie inside, and then the two of them together can let you trigger the Leviathan War on All Fronts Stratagem, since the T-Cyte has Fly and whatever you’re bringing in won’t/

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