Tyranid Forgeworld Review – HQ: Malanthrope

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I am going back to looking at the variety of goodies available to us, but this time, let’s see what Forgeworld has to offer.  In the wild west days of 8th edition, this mamajamma, the Malanthrope, was an auto-include, but thanks to Chapter Approved, it is not quite the most optimal choice, but it is still a good one.  Of course, if you want more awesome tricks and tips, check out that Tactics Corner that Frontline keeps updating.

Equipment and Biomorphs:

  • Grasping Tail – S4 AP-1 Dmg D3 melee weapon.

Special Rules:

  • Synapse: Friendly HIVE FLEET units within 12” ignore Morale Tests.
  • Shadow in the Warp: Enemy Psykers (except Tyranids) within 18” suffer -1 to cast psychic powers.
  • Shrouding Spores: Your opponent must subtract 1 to any ranged hit rolls that target HIVE FLEET units within 3” of a Malanthrope. This does not stack with Venomthropes.
  • Enhanced Toxic Miasma: At the end of the fight phase, roll a D6 for each enemy unit within 1”. On a 4+, that unit suffers a mortal wound.
  • Prey Adaptation: If the last model in an enemy unit is killed within 1” of a Malanthrope in the Fight phase, all HIVE FLEET models in your army may reroll hit rolls of 1 against all models with any of the same Faction keywords as the slain enemy.
  • Monstrous Brood: The first time you set up this unit on the battlefield, all models in the unit must be deployed together within 6” of at least another model from this unit, but afterwards, each are treated as separate unit for all purposes.

The Malanthrope is all about the support, and while other Tyranid HQs offer their own brand of kill, Malanthropes really are about protecting our swarms and maybe boosting their combat abilities if you can line up the shot.  Just like Venomthropes, the real reason that you take a Malanthrope is for that sweet, sweet -1 to hit at range penalty that Tyranids rely on to survive.  There is no way to really math-hammer out how valuable this is, but a 16% penalty to your opponent’s accuracy is certainly nice.  Whether this is protecting some big beasties from some big shots or helping to protect a swarm of little ones, it is all gravy.  The Malanthrope only has a 3” aura of this, half that of a minimum Venomthrope squad, but there are two key differences here.  First, the Malanthrope always affects Monsters and other big gribblies.  There is no way to turn that off other than just outright killing the Malanthrope.  The other factor here is that a Malanthrope is a character with under 10 wounds, so yay, you cannot target them unless you’re a sniper.  This really is a big deal as one of the biggest issues with Venomthropes is that they can easily be killed by any decent shooting, especially shooting that does require LoS.  Throw in that a Malanthrope has 9 wounds at T5, and it is easy more resilient than a squad of Venomthropes.  The Malanthrope is a Monster, so even Vindicares will struggle to easily kill it.

The Malanthrope also does have a way to up the sheer kill of the rest of your army. If you can position your Malanthrope into a combat where it can be right there when the unit is killed, now all other Hive Fleet units get to reroll 1s against the opponent’s army, seeing as Imperium/Aeldari/Chaos cover just about everything for the soup armies out there while T’au/Necron/Ork/Tyranid are also there for the no allies Xenos.  While it is not always easy to pull this off, if you do, getting a general reroll 1s to hit (any to hit roll) can be huge for upping the damage of pretty much all of our models (Swarmlord loves a 2+rerollable, as do Broodlords, Genestealers, and anything without scything talons).  Again, this is not always easy to do, but it is achievable. You need to plan a turn or two ahead to get it go off though since your opponent has to leave a target open for you where you can get it killed and get the Malanthrope there in time to celebrate. The chance to pop a mortal wound isn’t bad in combat, but don’t rely on it too much here either.  In terms of kill, a Malanthrope does not do much really thanks to WS 4+ and only 4 attacks, but d3 damage isn’t horrible either.  You can surprise someone, but chances are, it won’t do much in a fight.

Hive Fleet here is more about what army you are running rather than what is good for the Malanthrope. As Kraken tends to be our most competitive build, you’ll run Malanthropes as that pretty often, but it does help. Since Malanthropes Fly (thanks FAQ), with Kraken, they advance faster and can fall back and charge, which helps them line up that assault with another unit to get Prey Adaptation to go off.  Leviathan is not a bad choice as a Malanthrope is Synapse, so units will need to stay close to get that sweet -1 to hit and 6+++ Feel No Pain roll.  Really, Hive Fleet isn’t too vital to the Malanthrope as it is a support creature rather than a damage dealer.

So what’s wrong with the Malanthrope? Well, it is naturally slow at only movement 5, and as a Monster, it cannot go wherever it wants to go.  This lack of mobility can hurt it, mostly because its aura is only 3”, so you really, really need to turtle up a bit here. Units have to daisy-chain back to make sure they stay within 3”, and any monsters also have to watch how they move.  This can really restrain your movement phase, and that’s bad as the movement phase is one of the most crucial elements of the game, and you don’t want to have to decide between a suboptimal position or a monster (or unit) without the -1 to hit.   This is mitigated by having more than 1, but then, we run into another larger problem here: a Malanthrope is not cheap.  There was a glorious time when they were sub 100 points, but those times are gone, and now we are left with a 140 point Malanthropes.  This isn’t a bad deal as single Malanthrope can be a game changer, but they are one of our most expensive HQ options that does not add any real offensive power. This makes running multiple difficulty as taking 2 suddenly eats up 14% of your army at 2,000 points, but adding no real kill.  This makes the Malanthrope a specific choice: can you live with 1, or do you need to lose a bit of kill in order to protect what else you have.  It is a tough choice, and really, it comes down to the individual list. It is not a pysker, so you don’t even get some cheap smites out of it, and in many games, it mostly just floats there, keeping things alive but not doing much else.  Still, that can be enough.  Lastly, don’t think just because the model is big and beasty that the Malanthrope is a beast. 9 Wounds at T5 is great, but it only has a 5+ armor save and no invulnerable save, so don’t expect it to tank anything and live.  It’s best defense is that it is a character, so keep those bugs in front of it.

85/100: A solid HQ choice that has far more good than bad, but not necessarily a unit you can just throw into a list and expect it to succeed. Smart model placement is key, but if you can keep these big floating snakes alive, they can keep the rest of your army alive as well. Thanks as always for reading, and here we go again, going through some unit entries to see what we can see.

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 Forgeworld Review – HQ: Malanthrope”

  1. Avatar
    WestRider May 27, 2019 4:55 pm #

    I like to play Jormungandr, so the Malanthrope doesn’t gain anything from my Hive Fleet, but stacking that -1 on top of the constant Cover bonus gives the stuff around it a really nice durability boost.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 28, 2019 6:44 am #

      Yeah, I often play Jormungundr as well and the combo really cranks up their durability a great deal.

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