Psychic Awakening III: Tyranid FAQ

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we talk about the recent clarifications on Psychic Awakening III: Blood of Baal that GW has given to us Tyranids, and while it is easy to get a bit salty about it, there’s only smiles and tears, my friends, so choose how it goes. If you want to see what else happened to others out there after FAQs, Frontline’s Tactics Corner has you there.

Welp, GW giveth and GW taketh away.  I definitely would have liked to see two decisions go the other way, but such as it is, so while acknowledging the suck, we should always look at how to adapt. Let’s go over the ones that really matter:

Can an Exocrine Advance and use Symbiotic Devastation to fire?


This is one I did not think would go the other way, and the precedent it sets is also that it cannot be used when Falling Back either.  Does this make the Exocrine worse? Technically, yes as it limits its speed or ability to remove itself from combat and still be 100% effective, but Symbiotic Devastation is still such an amazing stratagem that takes the Exocrine to a much better place, so all in all, you should still think about splashing an Exocrine into a list.  At 155 points, it can put in a lot of work, and thanks to Symbiotic Devastation, you can deploy conservatively behind LoS blocking terrain and pop out to shoot or reposition for a better angle.

I am not entirely sold on the double or even triple Exocrine build, but I do think 1 Exocrine becomes something of a Distraction Carnifex itself, namely that it is not horribly expensive, it has decent threat, and your opponent is going to want to dedicate resources to it, resources now moved away from perhaps more pressing concerns. Especially with T8 and our usual defensive buffs, a lone Exocrine can absorb a lot of attention, and if your opponent fixates on killing in Turn 1, the other 1845 points of your list is ready and waiting to get to work.

Does the reroll from the Cranial Channeling Hive Fleet Trait apply to each individual unit with that trait or once per phase for a single unit in your army with that trait?

                –Once per phase for a single unit in your army.

This one hurts a lot in the sense that it pretty much cuts off a viable build for bugs, Psychic Spam.  Tyranids on their own only have 2 nukes, Smite and Psychic Scream, so I am not convinced that Psychic Spam would have been OP for Nids. It is not like we are Chaos with access to a lot of different nukes and even targeted smites, and of course, we don’t get the extended range or Smite mitigation like Thousand Sons (well, half of as much with Zoans), so I was hoping for a different call here as this Hive Fleet Trait is really less useful than before.  Yes, it sucks.

That out of the way, I can still find one viable use for it, and that’s for a self-contained detachment that is really there to just be psychic support for a shooty or fighty build.  A Supreme Command of 3 Neurothropes and a big unit of Zoanthropes with Cranial Channeling and Membranous Mobility is an easy way to slot in a lot of psychic heat into an army, and you get a reroll on the Zoans for the big smite while the Neuros reroll 1s on their own.    This gives you 4 smites and 1 psychic scream, and if you take a full 6 Zoans, that’s a reroll on a big smite that can be as mean as d6+3 at max.  It takes up a little over 25% of a 2000 point list, but that leaves you plenty to either go horde, go with a lot of shooty threat, or go with some melee threat.  You could also still try to stack some psychic threat with some allied Genestealer Cults and Astra Militarum.

Adaptive Physiology –

Add the following sentence: “You cannot use Adaptive Physiology on a Named Character”.

Well, so long S9 Swarmlord or super Old One Eye.  Again, this is another decision that I don’t really think was necessary as it genuinely helped give Bugs a good melee powerhouse, and well, Smash Caps and Mephiston and a whole ton of bad mamajammas exist, so why not us? Granted, Swarmy and OOE are still great, but there is a power curve, and Blood of Baal was supposed to boost us up there, and now it seems like some of the boosts are being toned down, which is fine if they are too strong, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Really, I miss OOE for a good counter to Centurions as a D4 OOE just gobbled them up.

Anyway, Adaptive Physiology is still an amazing rule that we get, and well, you can still use it to make absolutely killy stuff.  I am a big fan of a blob of Kronos Warriors that pump out an insane amount of shots thanks to Symbiostorm, especially when they are either ignore AP-1/-2 or +2 in cover.  I love that I can make Hive Guard pretty much unafraid of other out of LoS shooting.  The Genestealer Yo-Yo of Adrenal Webs and Shrewd Predators is good fun.  And yes, a Trygon with Murderous Size is still one hell of an armor cracker.  Good ol’ Dermic Symbiosis is also just money in the bank as giving an Exocrine/Tervigon/Tyrannofex/Hieordule a 5++ is just good fun. While the FAQ wasn’t kind to us, I think really we just have to move on to different applications, and there are still plenty.  You should be using Adaptive Physiology in your games as our Warlord Traits are not particularly amazing, and if nothing else, you should spend 1 CP to make a unit much stronger for free.

Also, let’s look at things that weren’t clarified, so awesome opossum, we can do what we do:

Maleceptor’s aura wasn’t changed to affect any specific Hive Fleet, so now you can take a Maleceptor in whatever Hive Fleet you want and still have Encephalic Diffusion put in work for everything in your army. It also was not changed to affect models rather than units, so you can daisy-chain to your heart’s content, and with a 6″ aura on a large base, one Maleceptor has quite the reach. It is really hard to not justify one Maleceptor in an army, but then, it is a CP hungry beast.

Hydra’s Death Shriek power was also not changed, and so you can rock a horde list with just a supreme command of Neurothropes/Broodlords to hang with your wall of bodies and do some damage to your opponent. This makes splashing in a Hydra detachment into a Leviathan or Build-A-Bug horde list quite workable. Just playing around with the math a bit, between a supreme command of 3 Hydra Broodlords and a Leviathan/Build-A-Bug battalion of Tervigon and Malanthrope with 90 Termagants, you still have about 1000 points left over to build a standard list. You can get a good amount of kill for that to complement the horde, either going monster mash or just even more little bugs to zerg forward.

Really, with a lot of our combos out there, most were not hit, so while it is easy to see the pain in losing a souped up Swarmy/Old One Eye and some psychic spam list ideas, there is still a lot to work with here.

Overall, it wasn’t what many wanted, but it is what we got, so make the most of it. Get out there, experiment, and harvest some biomass. I hope to see you at LVO 2020 which is just right around the corner, and I hope to see some Nids on those tables.  Thanks as always for readings, folks. 

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.

8 Responses to “Psychic Awakening III: Tyranid FAQ”

  1. Yarium January 12, 2020 10:40 am #

    I’m just going to re-iterate my disappointment here. So many of these things were good fun AND followed the normal string of things; things that apply to bolters also apply to Heavy Bolters, or relic bolters, things that apply to Shurikens also apply to Cannons and Catapults and relics, so why not Scything Talons applying to other types of Scything Talons? Same goes for the reroll psychic things. And adaptive special characters is also pretty cool, especially with more and more characters getting double warlord traits or even tons of characters getting warlord traits.

    It’s just… the options they went with aren’t FUN. Forget powerful. They’re just not as fun as they would have been. And that’s disappointing that they don’t want Tyranid players to have fun.

    • Zweischneid January 12, 2020 11:48 pm #

      Well, the Scything Talons and Psychic things is unfortunate, but named characters being un-customizable is pretty expected.

      You can double up on a Warlord trait and an adaptation with Tyranids, just not on a named character, similar to how you’d be stuck with a specific WL trait (and no double) if you take Mephiston or Guilliman. That seems largely consistent.

    • Brakhal January 13, 2020 6:31 pm #

      You want to have fun with Tyranids? That’s not the spirit of an npc race.

      In fact, I’m surprised Tyranids are still a playable faction, instead of some sort of living scenery, to represent enviromental hazards for narrative play.

      Anyway, is sad, but it could have been worse. I was expecting more random nerfs coming out of nowhere, a maximum range for the Kraken power, and everything else rewrited to be “x hive fleet only.”

      • Zweischneid January 14, 2020 2:49 am #

        At least they have new rules!

        Compared to armies like Ynnari that got nothing aside from “you’re not allowed to use any of the new Eldar rules” and a hot new no-banshee-mask-Ynnari-specific-banshee-build” teased on warhammer community that is still is waiting for it’s rules to drop, Tyranids are in paradise, lol.

        • N.I.B. January 14, 2020 7:28 am #

          Tyranids are in paradise, with their 33% win rate as a mono faction. Luckily they were kept in place with the FAQ nerfs.

          Poor Ynnari at a 53% win rate.

          • Zweischneid January 14, 2020 7:33 am

            Not sure where you’re getting it.

            40K stats from October forward has Ynnari at 37% and Nids (pre-Baal) at 38%.

            Seem comparable (before accounting for the latter getting a boost in PA, but the former not).

          • Ohlmann January 14, 2020 11:49 am

            Is there some kind of prize of the most badly treated by GW faction ?

            I don’t think there is one. The treatment on Ynnari is similar to thoses of all other xenos : callous, biased, and they make clear that thoses are sub-factions you should not bother with.

  2. winterman January 13, 2020 12:58 pm #

    Gorgon power was also left as just friendly buff, so could make for an interesting splash for the AP buff it provides.

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