Chapter Approved 2019: Tyranid Review

Hey everybody, Danny from TFG Radio here, and bless the Hive Mind, we have new points and new rules! I am going to be quite busy going through everything and anything, so strap in for a whole lot of Bug Talk. Let’s start with the first thing, perhaps the simpler side of the equation, points adjustments in Chapter Approved 2019. Of course, you can expect all the analysis and tactics for all the factions popping up at Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

So with Chapter Approved 2019 here, the most recent points adjustment have come, and just like 2018, Bugs get some more point drops, particularly on some of our bigger baddies.  What is most important to lay out early here is that these points adjustment cannot be measured in a vacuum without the new rules in Psychic Awakening.  This is important to keep in mind as if you are only looking at the CA2019 changes, Nids didn’t actually get anything extremely meta-shifting. Let’s take a look at the big changes here and what they can briefly mean with some reference to Psychic Awakening III: Blood of Baal. Don’t fret, more detailed analysis of those rules is coming.

The Haruspex got one of the bigger point drops down to 150, and this definitely helps make it a contender for the table top.  With T8 and 13 wounds, a Haruspex is beefy at 150, and while it is still only WS 4+, the additional rules available in Psychic Awakening make it a lot more attractive. With all of these new rules that it has access to, the Haruspex is likely still worth 170, but at 150, I think for Monster-Mash lovers, the Haruspex will be quite popular for bringing multi-dimension threat that can do work against infantry but also has those big d6 damage swings when needed.  Again, taking 3 is only 450, and while that seems like a lot, that is 39 T8 wounds to chew through with a whole lot of other bonuses and synergies.

The Malanthrope has one of the largest adjustments in terms of overall percentage, dropping 20 points to bring it down to a more reasonable 120.  140 definitely didn’t stop many bug enthusiasts from using 1, but at 120, this is just a free 20 points for a lot of lists.  They are now at the top of the medium band in terms of cost for HQs rather than the bottom of the high range, but again, 20 points is 20 more points free in a lot my lists.  With how lethal shooting is in this game, and even though true rerolls are a thing, the -1 to hit is still one of our best defenses that is essential for either Monster Mash or Swarm.

The Tyrannocyte also saw a big points drop down to 50 without guns, making it 75 points for the cheapest variant, and well, that helps.  Being able to drop in some big bugs or even warriors out of reserve has some play, and cutting cost on the delivery mechanism doesn’t hurt at all.  It is a monster, so it does benefit from some of the new rules floating around, and being able to get to WS 4+ with it on the charge could actually make it somewhat usable for taking on small, chump units. You can also spam the hell out of Tyrannocytes at this cost, and while spending 750 points for 10 sounds fun, it is more of a gimmick that won’t actually get you very far. That said, Tyrannocytes can FLY, so at least they can’t be locked in combat like Drop Pods.

The Exocrine going down to 155 flat makes it a bit more attractive to bring in, but really, it is the fun in Psychic Awakening III that really turns this big bug into a killer.  15 less points doesn’t magically fix the Exocrine’s problems, but the cheaper cost and the additional bonuses make the Exocrine a serious contender in lists.  As Primaris marines are more and more common, this bug’s stock has gone up and up thanks to flat damage 2 and AP -3.  If you are going against a lot of Primaris bodies, an Exocrine or 2 can help handle that storm. They are one of our better answers to the shifting marine-meta, and being cheaper (with some more tricks) is some nice counter-tek. Just don’t expect Nids to outshoot anybody, but having a good shooting platform that is cheap and easy to slot into a list helps us with a combined arms style.

Gargoyles went down a point, and really, this is absolutely great for our only flying little bugs. At 6 points a model, it was hard to justify 2 Gargoyles over 3 Termagants, but 150 for 30 models in a flying screen? That sounds wonderful. Add in that they get a bit more tek with being able to use their weapons in combat when it matters and several of the new Hive Fleet Adaptations, I think Gargoyles are going to be more in demand than people anticipate. An Outrider detachment of a Malanthrope and 90 Gargoyles will be only 570 points, but with the new rules, that could be 90 FLY keyword, 6++, -1 to hit in melee and range annoyances that are keeping your guns or your own objectives safe.

The Toxicrene also got another points adjustment to the south, coming in at our cheapest “big bug” at only 125 points.  The Toxicrene isn’t as tough as the T8 varieties nor does it hit as hard as even Trygons, but it has a sweet toolkit of abilities, and now at only 125, it is a good deal for what it is.  Throw in the bonuses of PA, and welp, I think you will see a lot of Toxicrene’s on the table in the near future. I plan on buying at least another one as the amount of attacks at a naturally strong WS helps overcome that it is only T7 and d3 damage.

Raveners at 18 points per model is a good call.  They are rarely seen on the table, but with a relatively impressive statline, they may see more play now that a unit of 3 is only 54 points.  This makes them still an excellent ride for other infantry in a Jormungandr build, but if you start to kit them out, they can do a lot of work for relatively cheap. Even at their cheapest, at 18 points a model, they put out 4 attacks, reroll 1s, and with the new hotness, can be AP-1.  You can also give them Deathspitters, so they go back to their old value, but now with a short ranged heavy bolter, still packed up by decent melee threat that can deep strike without any additional cost.

Warriors are also cheaper now, and especially with all of the new tricks for them, at least one unit can see play.  At 18 as cheap as possible, that’s not bad for Synapse and 3 T4 wounds.  You can still load up on Deathspitters as well.  Again, points wise, the Warriors are still not super efficient on their own, but again, I hate to keep saying it, but Psychic Awakening gives them a bit of play.  Will you see 30 of them? Probably not, but a squad of 9 isn’t such a bad idea anymore.

Biovores down to 40 is also nice as they really don’t put out enough heat to counter a lot of the stronger builds, and they are one of the few Nids to ever have a points increase.  120 for 3 is fair, especially since they do about 3 mortal wounds a turn, which can be essential for chipping down a heavy threat or getting through some of the super defenses that bugs aren’t great at handling.  Still, they are not going to murder squads most times, but then the trick with Biovores has always been the free spores on a miss, and if you are trying to build a cheap brigade, they do fill up the Heavy Support slot.

Hive Guard got a 5 point decrease on their Impaler Cannons, and this is real money.  While a full unit of 6 is still expensive, Hive Guard are our best shooting unit thanks to the combination of ignoring Line of Sight, AP-2, and ignore cover.  Since they also have access to Single Minded Annihilation, a squad of Hive Guard can easily pick up Primaris bodies. A lot of players already lean on Hive Guard to begin with, and suddenly getting 30 more points to play with doesn’t hurt at all.  Even without some of the buffs coming in PA3, cheaper Hive Guard is a big boost to Nids.

The Trygon/Trygon Prime also got a shade cheaper by 10 points, and again, this in isolation isn’t a huge boost, but when paired with all the cool tricks that they are getting, those 10 points are really worth more.  Trygons have a lot of high quality attacks at d6 damage, and they are relatively quick with built in deep-strike and essentially transport capacity for little bugs. Even if you don’t want the tunneling, a Trygon is a decent threat for 138 points, and a Prime will have a lot of ways to boost its charge out of reserve soon. I expect to see these pop up a bit more as they are the cheapest melee platform with d6 damage combined with natural WS 3+ and a lot of attacks.

The Tyrannofex got a small boost, namely getting cheaper in its most used variants, Acid Spray and Rupture Cannon.  Acid Spray getting 5 points cheaper isn’t that big of a deal all told, but it is nice, but the Rupture Cannon going down to 35 flat is helpful.  The Exocrine is probably more useful now with the more specific tricks that it gets, so keep that in mind, but if you love the Tyrannofex, saving a few points on the most used weapon or 15 points on the king of swing is nice.  Still, that BS 4+ is a killer, which is why Acid Spray is the best choice.

The Tervigon gets another little points shaving down to 180 flat with gear, and this helps get that big bug-factory out onto the table.  Again, just this adjustment isn’t enough to solve the Tervigon’s issues, but when you throw in that you’ll also be able to slap a 5++ on it, that certainly helps if you want to run a good sized horde that has the Tervi putting gants back into a squad.  With the 5++ and going as Kraken, you can still do the -2 to hit Tervigon between Chameleonic Mutation and a Malanthrope.  That’s a pretty beefy model that isn’t going to be easy to take down at range.

It is worth noting though that a lot of models didn’t get readjusted, which is a bit of a bummer.  Not everything is totally rainbows as some models that are still maybe a little too pricey in the new world compared to what else there is.  Swarmlord is still 250 and still worth it, but the Swarms and Old One Eye are probably a bit too expensive compared to what else is out there. Even just another 10-20 points would have helped.  The Hive Tyrant did not receive any decrease, which is a shame since it pays a pretty penny for wings, and really, probably too much in the grand scheme of things.  I think the rule of 3 did more to limit the effectiveness of Hive Tyrants, so at this point, I was hoping to see them come down in cost. That said, if you go for a walking Tyrant, 143 base isn’t too expensive depending on the guns or if trying to a super skew psychic spam list, 143 points for a 2 cast psyker with a 4++ and at least some melee threat for the Rending Claws isn’t too bad.  

Besides the Malanthrope, none of the Forgeworld models got any real help.  This is too bad as the Dimacheron is an awesome, awesome model, and its rules aren’t terrible, but it is far too expensive at a flat 200.  Bringing it down to the 170-180 range would make it far more usable on the field as right now, you get equal or greater value with other bugs for cheaper.   It would have been nice to see some drops there as well.   In terms of our Lords of War, the Hierodules are too pricey for what they are, and even with the new bonuses available in PA3, it just makes our other bugs more efficient as 3 Toxicrenes is cheaper than either Hierodule and probably going to do more all told. That said, being able to slap on a 5++ and double wounds for degrading on a Hierodule helps as does getting it up to WS 2+ on the charge, so it’s not all bad, but I would still argue that the Tyranid Lords of War are just too expensive for what they are, and really, shouldn’t bugs be the king of big monsters?

Overall, if you are looking at CA 2019 without the benefit of Psychic Awakening III, then these changes are relatively underwhelming as points adjustments don’t solve some of the inherent problems with these models, but PA3 definitely addresses some of them, so while 10 points off a Trygon Prime may seem a bit light, consider that this decrease is also coupled with an increase in overall threat and potential. If nothing else, Blood of Baal and Chapter Approved 2019 have given my beloved bugs some new life, and as a person who has played bugs since they arrived in the game, it feels good to be excited about new possibilities and new combinations, even after all of these years.

Thanks as always for reading, and next time, I’ll be digging into the Build-A-Bug new Hive Fleet adaptations from Blood of Baal.

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.

3 Responses to “Chapter Approved 2019: Tyranid Review”

  1. Faitherun
    Faitherun December 5, 2019 2:31 pm #

    Ooh – You are almost convincing me to pick up my bugs again. They were my first army, and since their codex came out, I have hardly touched them. But this is intriguing indeed.

  2. MidnightSun December 5, 2019 3:34 pm #

    Neat write-up. I don’t think it’s particularly great, and it’s certainly not going to make waves on the competitive scene, but I play Leviathan and am loving the new incentives to upgrade the Trygon to a Prime. 6+++ for him and his tunnelling unjt is really neat already, but I’d like to try out giving him the 3D6″ discard the lowest on charge distance Relic adrenal gland, which then opens his squad up to follow him in with the Hive instincts stratagem from Blood of Baal to help the unit arriving with him make the charge (with their regular +1″ Adrenal Glands). Stick a 5++ and half-wounds-for-damage on him from Adaptive Biology and there may be something to be done there.

    I’d also like to try combining the above combo with Overrun and Grisly Distraction to spread out 30 Hormagaunts, with a 3D6 drop the lowest +1″ charge, a 6″ consolidate, and a further 9+D6″ move, I think you could make an annoyingly gigantic -1 to hit bubble. Easy to kill, sure, but annoying nonetheless. Unless you’re fighting Marines, who just shoot through the Hormagaunts then kill them all in combat, but comparing Tyranids to Marines is a pointless exercise in any instance.

  3. N.I.B. December 7, 2019 8:24 am #

    Dimacheron rules aren’t terrible? It seem we aren’t playing the same game.
    After one game with the new BoB nids (120 Hormagaunts with AP-2) I’m decidedly lukewarm to these changes.

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