Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we go over a mythic monster, spoken of in hushed, if not really disappointed tones, the Harridan. If you like your bugs with wings and supersized, then here you are, caveat emptor and all that. Of course, if you want quality tactical advice for free, then you should check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner.
Weapons and Biomorphs:
- Bio Cannon – Range 48″ Heavy 6 S8 AP-2 Dmg D3 gun. This beastie has 2.
- Massive Scything Talons – S7 AP-3 Dmg D6 that rerolls 1s to hit.
- Death Throes: When this model is killed, roll a D6. On a 5+, all units within 3” suffer d3 mortal wounds.
- Frenzied Metabolism: At the start of the shooting phase, you may choose to take d3 mortal wounds. In exchange, add D6 to the strength of its bio-cannons for duration of the turn.
- Sky Attack: Choose a non-character unit that the Harridan passed over a unit in the movement phase. It takes D3 mortal wounds.
- Flying Titanic Monster: A Harridan can fall back in the movement phase and still shoot and/or charge during the turn. When it falls back, it can move over enemy Infantry models, but it must be able to end its move more than 1” away from any enemies. A Harridan can shoot if there are enemy models within 1” of it so long as they are all Infantry, and it can shoot the enemy unit within 1” of it or another legal target. The Harridan moves and shoots heavy weapons without the To Hit penalty, and it can only gain cover if it is 50% obscured by terrain as well as on or in it.
- Transport: This model can transport up to 20 HIVE FLEET gargoyles.So the big flying fortress has just the highest wounds of a model that you can take in Tyranids in a 2000 or under game, and it offers some interesting tricks that can catch an unwary opponent off guard. First and foremost, the Harridan is one of our most accurate Lords of War with a healthy BS of 3+. That certainly makes those 12 Bio-Cannon shots far more reliable. Really, that’s the niche that the Harridan fills: it is one of our best answers to flyers, and between the 12 S8 shots and 5 S7 attacks, it is not unreasonable (but also not entirely likely) for a Harridan to down two Eldar Flyers a turn. With its healthy movement of 30, it is fast enough to get within 12 of the Flyer (so goodbye Altaioc bonus), it flies so it ignores the Super Sonic penalty, and well, all that is left is Lightning Fast Reflexes, making the Harridan essentially BS 4+. If you pop Pathogenic Slime for the +1 damage, and on average, a Harridan that goes Danger Close on an Eldar flyer is going to kill one with its Bio-Cannons and then if you can line up a charge on another one, you are going to do about 7.5 wounds on average, tiering another, and if you get lucky with the damage roll, popping a second plane. That of course is just a bit outside the average ban, but when you consider that Tyranids are not excellent at popping flyers in general, this is pretty damn good.Sky Attack is a nice way to do chip damage on some targets like forward deploying scouts or even light vehicles, so our other shooting can finish them off later. D3 mortal wounds isn’t a lot, but it can be the difference between wiping a squad or destroying a lighter target. Frenzied Metabolism isn’t the best trade off unless you are really hunting a T5 target where it is more than likely to get to the 2+ to wound or if you are going for a hail mary to roll that 6 and start wounding a T7 target on 2s. I could see an argument for it if you are trying to shoot down a heavy target for that sweet S9+, so you can wound on 3s rather than 4s. An extra 16% wound rate isn’t bad, especially for a Dmg D3 weapon (that could also be D3+1). That said, you don’t want the Harridan to start hurting itself too much as it has 4 damage tiers, and you really do not want to start dropping down tiers.You can also go for a full “come at me, bro” attack and forego shooting to Swarmlord the Harridan forward for a max potential move of 60” (but in terms of straight towards their deployment line movement, you are limited to about 51” as Swarmlord has to actually be within 6 of the Harridan, so you can’t let it get too far ahead). The Harridan doesn’t put out a ton of damage in melee unless you spike the damage rolls, but against an army with certain linchpin units, you can really fluster their plans if suddenly a giant winged bug is right there in their face. Especially against a gunline that cannot fall back and shoot who does not screen properly, and that means blocking their backs as the Harridan is certainly fast enough to jump over the target and hit them from behind, this can be devastating as the Harridan is now there in their lines with some (or a lot) of their firepower now having to Fall Back. If you also take a 20 Gargoyle unit to cling to the Harridan’s belly, this is yet another annoying unit to deal with that is fast and can easily tag units to keep them from shooting. Even if the Harridan dies, most of that Gargoyle unit is going to live (depending of course on model placement), so now there is yet another issue to deal with that the opposing force might not have the resources left to deal with before yet another turn of being engaged. It is a nice thing that the Harridan doesn’t have Instinctual Behavior, so you never have to worry about it being so far ahead of your forces.
Hive Fleet here adds a little something extra, depending on your play style. The Harridan is really our most flat damage big beastie battery in a single package, so Kronos giving it a reroll 1 to hit on the bio-cannons ain’t too shabby at all. It is of course fast enough and large enough to fly up and really spread the Darkest Shadow aura too if you are dealing with an army that relies on a single psychic power to really turn on. Leviathan is also a good choice if you want some more mileage out of the bug as a 6+++ Feel No Pain roll on 30 wounds translates to about extra 5 wounds per game, which isn’t to be overlooked. That said, it can be hard to ensure that the Harridan stays near Synapse for this. Gorgon gets you a bit extra hit out of the melee portion of the Harridan, but the Harridan really isn’t that big of a melee threat, and Behemoth gives you reroll charges, which is just that much more certainty that the Harridan is going to get into combat. Kraken does nothing for the Harridan, but as Kraken is the most common hive fleet, it may be necessary just to keep the synergies up with a Malanthrope/Venomthropes or Swarmlord. Hydra and Jormungandr are wasted here on this windshield smashing bug.
So what keeps this baddie off the table? Much like the other Lords of War, the root problem is cost. 762 points is just an astonishing price to pay for a unit that is cool (and looks awesome) but is certainly not worth more than a Castellan. The Harridan shoots well, but 12 S8 shots is not exactly going to table another force or even guaranteed to kill another Lord of War, and the likelihood that a Harridan one-rounds a Knight is low, low, low, like if you pull it off low, you need to buy a lottery ticket. The Harridan also only has 5 attacks, so again, the chance that in melee it can kill just about anything near half its point value in a single round is low, low, low. With only S7, it is wounding most other heavy armor targets (the targets that its damage profile is supposed to be ideal against) means that you need to spend the CP for the reroll wounds stratagem when it gets there. The Harridan does have a beefy wounds characteristic at 30, but at T7 with a 3+ and no invulnerable save, it is not all that durable. The other high-powered shooting that exists is going to bring the bug down, and there goes damn near half your army. As it flies, it cannot get the auto-cover from Jormungandr, so it is hard to get it to that sweet 2+, and while a friendly neighborhood Malanthrope is great for the -1, the Harridan wants to make use of that 30” movement, and that means flying away from the buffing auras. The Harridan also degrades noticeably, going from BS 3+ to 4+ after 15 wounds, and that is not all that hard to do on it, and at its worst, WS 5+ and BS 6+ is just miserable. So you take good but nowhere near great shooting, ok melee against the right targets (and only the right targets), low defense for a super heavy, and then you charge more than just about other super heavy out there, and you get a bad, bad combination. Don’t forget that the Harridan is a massive model, so hiding it? I think not. Even in the forthcoming Apocalypse, unless significantly changed, the Harridan is not going to stand up to the firepower that other factions are going to bring, and it is not going to dish out anywhere near the damage that 762 points could buy you. To put in perspective, 3 Rupture Cannon Tyrannofexes have more combined wounds, have a higher toughness, can get to a 2+ save much easier, do more damage than a Harridan, and are cheaper by a good margin.
30/100. A solid, solid fail here as the Harridan’s only real strength is either trolling your opponent or acting as a semi-counter to a flyer list, but even then, should the Harridan go first and drop 2 flyers, the other 4 are likely to kill it, and that’s a bad trade for you. This is too bad as with Apocalypse looming, it would be nice to bust it out, but even then, it wouldn’t last too long in its current form. Hopefully, its new statline in Apocalypse will be far more fitting. Thanks as always for reading, and next week will be the very last unit entry for Tyranids. It’ll be emotional. Don’t forget that the Hammer of Wrath GT is just a few short weeks away in August in Pasadena, and if you missed out on an LVO ticket and the High Roller package, come on down and try to take it.
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