Hey everybody, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, let’s talk about harnessing the raw power of the greatest intelligence in any galaxy, The Hive Mind. While yes, our powers aren’t always considered good, but Psychic Awakening III: Blood of Baal has given us a new power for each codex Hive Fleet, and there is some fire here. Of course, we must also adapt to our prey, so be sure to keep up with all of the articles available at Frontline’s Tactics Corner.
Each codex Hive Fleet (so no Build-A-Bug) now gets one new power that is unique to them, and really, I must say that the rules writers really did capture the narrative and lore behind each Hive Fleet, so these powers are all fluffy, but they also all have plays, but some more than others. Let’s get into it!
Unstoppable Hunger – WC 7: Pick a friendly Behemoth unit within 9″ of the caster.. Add +1 to all wound rolls in melee for the duration of the turn.
This is just money on money for several reasons. First, Tyranids have very little ways to boost our ability to hurt things, so getting something that lets us tip the odds in our favor is big, particularly since we are designed around massed attacks more than quality attacks. This really does breathe new life into Behemoth for the fact that this power is so unique, and really, it is viable for both Beasties and Infantry.
The big winners are Genestealers who typically struggle with anything T8 and above, and even T5 can be difficult as wounding on 5s is no good. Seeing as Genestealers can pump out a ton of attacks, that 16% increase in wounds is insane. That’s a lot of value, and a UH’d Genestealer unit can absolutely wreck most things, especially since now 33% of your attacks are also AP-4, that’s good. Still won’t kill a knight or anything (about 14.8 wounds all told), but especially T5 units are a lot more frightened. Of course, Hormagaunts also benefit as S3 sucks, but getting up to wounding on 4s against most targets definitely helps here. There’s also the reality that Behemoth has one of the better horde stratagems, Brute Force, which inflicts a Mortal Wound off on a unit on a 6+ for every model that makes it within 1″ of an enemy model, so between Unstoppable Hunger and that, you can actually take a relatively low threat unit and make it punch way above its weight. It also makes taking Toxin Sacs worth it for Hormagaunts or even Warriors as you can trigger the extra damage far easier.
Of course, monsters don’t mind this either as getting Swarmlord or Trygons or Haruspexes to wound on 3s or 2s is awesome, especially with Murderous Size buffing them even more. You can also go for the super combo of a Hive Tyrant with The Reaper of Obliterax, Murderous Size, Toxin Sacs and Unstoppable Hunger where every 5+ to wound is a shocking 9 damage (following the Tyranid FAQ from the previous Obliterax question) This is one of the best psychic powers, and it should make you consider Behemoth. The only downside is that is WC 7, so it is not as easy to get off as our other powers. A Resonance Barb helps with this as does a Neurothrope for the reroll 1s.
Synaptic Lure – WC 5: Select an enemy unit (any enemy unit). Until the end of the turn, any Kraken units may reroll charge rolls against the selected unit.
Kraken is all about speed, and this only increases your average speed as well as help limit some of the variance to it. Being able to select any unit and then getting reroll charges on it makes longer charges far more viable, and it extends your threat range by roughly an inch and change, but the real key to it is that it limits the lower range of the variance band, so you are far less likely to get those sweet 3 inch charges when you just needed 6. If you are going tried and true Genestealer Rocket, then this is a great power since it really does ensure that your Genestealers are getting there, and maybe even getting a long charge to help set up tri-points or get into position for consolidating into other targets. It also helps ensure that you can get 2 units into the front lines on Turn 1, not just 1. If you Swarmlord one unit of Genestealers (or Hormies with Onslaught) and you Opportunistic Advance another unit (so typically moving 16-18 inches), with Synaptic Lure, the unit that didn’t get the double move still has a good chance of hitting that 6-8″ charge if your opponent deployed anything on the line. While this doesn’t reinvent the Kraken Rocket, it certainly makes it more reliable, and being able to consistently get 2 units of Stealers into combat on Turn 1 is pretty darn money.
This can also work if you need to be savvy and take a less direct path to ensure that you have cover or are charging out of LoS, Synaptic Lure definitely helps you make up for maybe a more oblique angle since you can fish for the longer charge in safety.
Again, Kraken is all about speed, so Synaptic Lure only increases this, so it is worth taking any time you are running Kraken.
Hive Nexus- WC 6. Until the next Psychic Phase, all Leviathan Synapse is 18″ rather than 12″.
It is easy to overlook this since most times, we have enough Synapse creatures running around, but an increase of 6″ is actually a much larger aura that you may think when you factor in the total area that you are covering. One synapse creatures suddenly is holding down an entire section of the board. Every Synapse creatures becomes like a Swarmlord, at least for the aura.
With the rise of Eliminators and other sniper units, our typical cheap Synapse creatures are vulnerable, so being able to play back more or hide when necessary but still keep the front lines in Synapse is crucial. One of the Tyranids’ really unique abilities is that we can mostly ignore morale, but if you are running a horde, which Leviathan is very good at doing, you need that morale control as Termagants and Hormagaunts will disappear quickly.
Again, this is not as overpowering as say Behemoth or even Kraken, but it is good, reliable tek that is not bad as a secondary power. As it effects all Leviathan psykers, you don’t need to worry about range or anything like that, and suddenly you have several Neurothropes covering most of an entire board side in Synapse, and that is pretty darn clutch. Of course, this doesn’t increase the Leviathan Hive Trait aura, so you still do need to keep things close to Synapse to get that 6+++ Feel No Pain. This is a bit of that counter-synergy that Bugs love as Leviathan wants lots of Synapse creatures for the Feel No Pain, not really Synapse, so this power would have been much more useful if it also extended the range of Leviathan’s Feel No Pain aura.
Poisonous Influence- WC 6. Until the next Psychic Phase, improve the AP of melee weapons by friendly models within 9 of this psyker by 1.
This one is again easy to pass over, but until FAQ’d, has some interesting work it can do. A 9″ aura isn’t huge but isn’t small either, and getting some extra AP is big for the bugs as again, we often rely more on high volume fire with no AP, so suddenly have Hormagaunts, Warriors, Raveners with -1 AP or Genestealers with -2 AP is pretty good, especially with Gorgon’s Hive Trait which is reroll 1s to wound in melee. This is a lot of extra mileage in melee for essentially free. Even getting some of our bigger bugs up to AP-4 is pretty clutch as there are a lot of 2+ save units out there that need to die, or if you like Toxicrenes, getting them to AP-3 on their main weapons helps them be even more efficient melee threats.
Right now, the way the rule is worded, it does not specify Gorgon models, so this could work for everybody, regardless of Hive Fleet. If so, a patrol of rippers and few Neuros to throw themselves in the front line to trigger this power could help any infantry build, especially the super Hormie build where without spending CP, you can get Hormies up to AP-3. That’s pretty hilarious. I don’t know if that is intended, so I wouldn’t build around it just yet.
This is a bit limited though as it is models, not units, so the caster needs to be right in the front lines. This makes sense for a Broodlord who is fast and typically going to get into the scrum, but a Neurothrope can certainly do it too. You do need to make sure that you leave gaps for the Neurothrope or whoever to get there.
Lurking Maws – WC 6. Select an enemy unit visible to the caster. Until the end of the turn, you reroll hit rolls against the targeted unit by Friendly Jormungandr units if they were set up on on the battlefield this turn. You cannot use this power in the first battle round.
This is an interesting one for several reasons. First, it is one of the only sources of full, true rerolls that Tyranids get, so by that alone, it is worth thinking about. Second, it is any hit roll, so both shooting and melee, meaning that you can value out of this in multiple phases, and it has a wide range of utility. Jormungandr is already a good choice for Hive Fleet if doing a gunline type army, and really, this is another way to get lesser units into the field and be effective. Raveners are cheap, can take Deathspitters, and can come in from reserve without any additional resources spent, so suddenly pumping out 27 S5 AP-1 shots that reroll to hit isn’t bad at all, especially backed up by 3 attacks at WS 3+ rerolling 1s. You can combo this with shooty elements like Devil-Gants (oh my, up to 180 S4 shots rerolling? That’s likely one dead target) or even an Exocrine out of a Tyrannocyte, pop its stratagem, and suddenly you have 12 S7 AP-3 D2 (or even D3) shots that reroll to hit on BS 3+. In a vehicle heavy meta, Shock Hive Guard also get a lot of mileage out of this as they can hitch a ride with Raveners and pop up and obliterate any vehicle. While Flyrants aren’t common in Jormungandr because they do not get the bonus, if they drop down and are suddenly rerolling all those shots, that’s not so bad.
You can further combo this with things like Trygon Primes with the Archanacyte Gland for some charges out of reserve, and getting the Trygon Prime (maybe with Murderous Size) into a hard target like a Knight, and suddenly you are rerolling all hits, and with Voracious Appetite, rerolling wounds. That’s gonna be a damn hurt Knight (on average, 21 wounds). If you want to do that crazy tek with Tyrant Guard as armor killers, getting them to reroll hits is awesome, especially with Crushing Claws to make sure those S10 punches land.
This is definitely built around a Turn 2 and 3 punch, and it is only one enemy unit, but it certainly ensures that you can select a unit and make sure that it dies. Whether this is from shooting elements or assault, it is very effective, so if you run Jormungandr, this is all extra mileage in a variety of ways. Again, even a cheap Batallion of say Devil-Gants riding with a Trygon as a Turn 2 chaff clearer or Shockguard in Tyrannocyte as an Anti-armor drop can slot into a lot of other builds.
Death Shriek- WC5: Until the start of your next Psychic Phase, when a Friendly Hydra Model within 6″ of the psyker and within 6″ of an enemy unit dies, roll a dice and on a 6, the closest enemy unit to the Hydra model suffers 1 mortal wound.
This is a power that can go absolutely bonkers, but it requires a lot of careful positioning to pull off. It pretty much requires that you have your Neurothrope or Broodlord in the middle of a squad for it work well as it is on a model by model basis, not a unit. This is tricky, and again, it very much requires that you position your unit to allow space for the psyker and that you get the psyker where it needs to be. You need to run the horseshoe shape for the most part.
Positioning aside, this is like Caustic Blood the psychic power, and it can be devastating. If a hard as nails unit charges into your Gant-wall, with this power up and Caustic Blood, every dead model could be 2 mortal wounds on the unit, and having played a lot of Gant-Wall style lists, Caustic Blood often gets me far more damage than my opponent expects. This power also works at range, granted only 6”, but if a fast moving model moves up into range to try to clear the screen, you can end up killing them in the process. This can catch people off guard, and again, if going with the Gant-Wall list, this is a way to up your damage potential as Gants are not great at killing things, but being able to pump out mortal wounds just for dying is pretty awesome.
Seeing as Hydra is one of the few sources of rerolls to Nids, this gives Hydra some extra mileage as you want to be combat, and being able to do damage with both Caustic Blood and Death Shriek helps you out there. This isn’t as insanely strong as Behemoth, but it does have plays if you build around it, but you have to position carefully to maximize it. Since it also only targets one squad, your opponent can counter-play it a bit. A Broodlord is probably an ideal caster with their larger base, and you can even scuttle sideways to maximize the reach of the aura.
Symbiostorm- WC 6. Target a friendly Kronos unit within 12”. Until the end of the turn, when resolving an attack made with a ranged weapon, a hit roll of 6+ scores 1 additional hit.
This is another power that is just clearly strong, and it adds so much value for really so little. Getting 16% more hits for free is just great, especially considering that Kronos is our best (efficiency wise) shooting Hive Fleet, so between the reroll 1s to hit if you didn’t move and now another hit on a 6+, this is just bio-mass in the digestion pool. Really, you have 3 prime targets for this. The first and obvious is my vote for best single unit in the codex, Hive Guard with Impaler Cannons. With up to 24 shots per turn, you are getting on average an extra 4 hits, which is just sweet, especially on S8 AP-2 Dd3 hits that ignore cover and are just about perfect Primaris killers. Especially since Hive Guard can hunker down in cover and out of Line of Sight, you are just upping their damage output all for one power that isn’t too hard to get off.
Exocrines are also good choices since their main gun is of course a Primaris killer, but more importantly, they get a +1 to hit if they stand still, which means they trigger Symbiostorm on a 5+. While this is not as much value as Hive Guard as 12 shots on a 5+ is not as strong as 24 shots on a 6+, it still is strong, and it allows you to trigger the power against anything with a negative penalty. Yes, keep in mind that this is a modified 6, so negatives do matter, and as I can tell you, Hive Guard with Symbiostorm do not get any value against flyers. An Exocrine makes a good choice as it at least gets to pop off on a 6. In a similar vein, Warriors with a Prime can do this as well as the Prime gives them a +1 to hit, so now they are triggering on a 5+, which helps you get more fun out of Deathspitters or even the Bio-cannons. Warriors can actually put out the most volume of fire of these 3 with 54 shots (if all Deathspitters/Devourers and Single-Minded Annihilation), and if you throw in the extra reroll, assuming you are standing still, you are getting an absolutely insane amount of hits from the Warriors. A Deathspitter squad almost kills an entire Primaris squad of 10 with their volleys, which is pretty good for Nid Shooting. This is another way to get Warriors to be useable on the tabletop, and it does give some variety of threat. Hive Guard are generally the best bet for all around kill, but if facing a large mass of bodies, Warriors become money with the extra volume of fire, and Exocrines are good against vehicles with an inherent negative modifier like fliers.
If you play Kronos, this is amazing, and honestly, a Kronos Battalion of a Neuro, a Prime, 2×3 Rippers, a full squad of Warriors with Deathspitters, an Exocrine, and full Hive Guard is about 850 points, but it adds a huge volume of shooting threat where Symbiostorm is total value, and it still leaves you 1150 points to build the rest of your army like some big bug melee threat or genestealer rocket, or whatever moves you. You can also do a more self-contained version of a Kronos Patrol with a Flyrant, 20 Devil-Gants, and a Tyrannocyte for a quick drop that is going to put out a lot of S4 shooting. I think I like Warriors a bit better for the extra kill and some melee threat, but Devil-Gants are rarely a bad choice.
Welp, there are your new bespoke powers. While the new Build-A-Bug format is awesome and opens up a lot of possibilities, these distinct powers are absolutely amazing at adding to what the Codex Hive Fleets can do. Behemoth and Kronos seem like the overall winners as their powers have the most overt kill factor, but even if you are beholden to Hydra or Jormungandr, these are definite boosts to your army that help each Hive Fleet do what you want to do.
As for me, my initial games with Kronos Hive Guard were money, but I am going to try with Warriors as well. I am thinking a Kronos Batt and a Behemoth Batt will be pretty freaking mean. Thanks as always for reading my fellow bio-mass, and next time, I am going to do my usual deep dive on all the new stratagems that Blood of Baal has given us. Happy hunting, and remember, chew thoroughly to avoid indigestion.
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