Tyranid Forgeworld Review – HS: Stone Crusher Carnifex

Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, let’s look at yet another flavor of everyone’s favorite bug, the Stone Crusher Carnifex.  If you like canned food, you’ll like the SSC, and if you want to learn more tricks and tips, go check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

Equipment:

  • Wrecker Claws – S14 AP-3 Dmg D6 melee weapon. Rerolls wounds against Vehicles and Buildings. If you have 2, reroll hits against Vehicles and Buildings.
  • Bio-Flail – S6 AP-1 D2 melee weapon. You use 1 of your attacks (only 1) to make a number of hit rolls with this weapon equal to the number of enemy models within 2″ of the Carnifex.
  • Bio-plasma – Range 12″, Assault D3, S7 AP-3 D1 gun.
  • Bone mace – S8 Ap-1 Dmg D3 melee weapon. 1 Free attack with this weapon.
  • Thresher Scythe – S4 AP-1 D1 melee weapon. D3 free attacks with this weapon.

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.
  • Carapace Chitin Ram: When a Stone Cursher finishes a charge move, on a 4+, one enemy unit within 1″ takes a mortal wound. If the enemy is a Vehicle or Building, it takes d3 mortal wounds.
  • Monstrous Brood: You can purchase 1-3 as a unit that deploys together within 6″, but then they are individually treated as separate unit for the rest of the game.

Stone Crusher Carnifexes are one of the most reliable armor-cracking units that we have, particularly for the price point. While they lack the customization of other Carnifexes, they have access to two unique weapons, one being awesome at punching tin-cans.  Wrecker claws are solid as they are essentially crushing claws without a -1 to hit penalty and Dmg D6 rather than 3.  They also have a native reroll to wounds against vehicles and buildings, so you get a lot of mileage out of S12 (against a Knight, you are wounding 89% of the time).  If you take both Wrecker claws, you also reroll hits against vehicles and buildings, which is awesome as Tyranids have very little flat rerolls to hit (we have a lot of reroll 1s at least).  A double claw SCC does 7.75 wounds on average to a Knight, which isn’t bad for about 100 points.  Of course, on a 4+, it does D3 mortal wounds to a vehicle or building when it charges, so you are getting even more mileage here.  Between a few smites, a few volleys of Hive Guard, a SSC has decent odds of finishing a Knight off without a strike back.

The bio-flail isn’t entirely bad either. Thanks to the FAQ clarification, 1 of your attacks is used with the flail, and you get to make a number of attack rolls equal to the number of models within 2 inches.  That is decent range, and against tightly clustered infantry, you can get some good numbers out of this.  AP-1 isn’t ideal but damage 2 is great, especially against units that rely on Feel No Pain to survive as it is much harder to roll 2 5+s than just 1. You also still get the 3 claw attacks and whatever tail that you take. I recommend the Thresher scythe for the extra D3 attacks at S4 to help clear chaff, or if you are double Wrecker, then a Bone Mace is just one more little punch that can help.

Let’s not forget that Old One Eye exists, and it really amps up the SSCs by giving them WS 3+.  This is actually essential  as SSCs do not gain the bonus to hit on the charge, so they are the most inaccurate of our Carnifexes on a base level.  All the usual tricks here are workable like Swarmlord as a SSC missile can do some big damage to any vehicles out there, one that your opponent might not expect. While only movement 7, getting Onslaught on a SSC then Swarmlording it means that you are getting 14+2d6 inches of movement and then a 2d6 charge.  That can really ensure that either you hit a vehicle on Turn 1 or send a Bio-flail into their chaff line turn 1.

As always, let’s look at Hive Fleet.  Kraken is never bad as these bugs need to scrum, so getting a faster advance roll is key to set up a Turn 2 or Turn 3 charge, or to get Onslaught and a good advance roll.  Jormungandr is not bad either for a 2+ save to shooting, which helps keep these bugs alive long enough to actually do something, but that does require that you not advance. This can work if the rest of your list has fast, turn 1 rush or if you are using the SSC as a counter-charge unit.  Leviathan is also more resilience with the Feel No Pain, and since Carnifexes in general are not that expensive, any defensive buffs that you can stack can get you far more mileage in terms of points efficiency.  Behemoth is cool for the double tap of mortal wounds on the charge as well as the reroll to charge, but none of the others really work that well. I could see a case for Gorgon Bio-flails as the reroll 1s to wound in melee can help the SSC do some work against hordes.

So what the downsides here? Well, as I mentioned, these bugs are our least accurate Carnis because they do not get the bonus to hit when they charge.  This really does require that you take OOE with them as a 3+ is far superior to a 4+, especially if they have to swing on things that are not vehicles.  A Bio-flail SSC is cool but without OOE, a 4+ with no rerolls is not all that money at killing a lot.  Now, taking OOE isn’t bad by any stretch, but it does mean that you can’t just splash an SSC or 2 into a list and expect it to do well. You do need to make sure you have OOE around, so now you are more dedicating to a Carni-Carnival style list.   There’s also the reality that Carnis are like light vehicles; they have decent stats for the cost, but they are not particularly resilient. At T7 with 8 wounds and a 3+, they can still get killed by bolters, and any real heat like the usual suspects of Eldar flyers or Knights can still pop them with very little difficulties. Yes, you can get them to -1 to hit with a 2+ save in cover, but even then, that really isn’t enough to stop them getting murdered at range.  This is generally a problem with Carnifexes, and it is just another casualty of the current meta where there are so many high powered shooting platforms, and any Carni chassis (except OOE who is a character) is vulnerable to this.  If you know that you aren’t going against a heavy shooting army, SSC are great, but that’s hard to guarantee at this point, and pretty much not going to happen at any competitive event.

70/100. Barely passing, but really, it is a stretch. I love SSCs, but in terms of competitive play, they are too vulnerable to the big dogs out there.  In more casual or narrative games, they are super fun, and again, you can use them in a competitive army, but you need to be quite adept at hiding them until they get to do what they want to do. Thanks for reading, and if you couldn’t snag a 40K ticket for LVO, or you want to try for that sweet, sweet High Roller Package, you should check out Hammer of Wrath.

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.

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