Psychic Awakening III: Tyranid list ideas, part 3

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I go over some weird and wacky lists that I cooked up with Tyranids thanks to our newest toys in Psychic Awakening III: Blood of Baal.  If you like the jank, then come on by, and if not, stay awhile anyway.  If you want to learn what random tricks the biomass can do, you should always stay up to date over the Tactics Corner

So these lists are really meant to provide something that most players won’t really expect.  That is not to say that they don’t use good units, but rather these lists function off of odd angles and in general, going against the meta to some extent.  Are they GT winners? Maybe, in the right hands, but really, these are lists that are maybe best for having a good time at the table rather than only thinking about Top 8. Let’s get into it:

Build-A-Bug Brigade – Metamorphic Regrowth/Bio-Metallic Cysts

3x Tyranid Primes with double scything

6×3 Warriors with double scything

2x Lictors

The Red Terror

3×3 Raveners with double scything

1 Biovore

2 Mawlocs

Kronos Brigade

3x Neurothrope (1 Warlord. 1 with Resonance Barb)

6×3 Rippers

2×1 Pyrovores

1×2 Pyrovores

2×3 Meiotic Spores

1 Mucolid Spore

2×1 Biovores

1 Exocrine

So this list is all about CPs and providing whack angles for mischief. There are really no super threatening models here save for the Exocrine, who is really more of a Distraction Carnifex.  Let’s start with how this list works:

Your main beaters are actually the Warriors and Raveners. They are all AP-1 standard with 4 attacks, hitting on WS 3+, rerolling 1s, and if in range of their buffs, now it is a 2+ reroll 1s.  That’s some quality accuracy with a little bit of punch, all for 18 points per model.  They also all heal 1 wound a turn, so they can be oddly resilient, and with 9 units of 3, it is easy to overkill a squad and waste shots while also not entirely easiy to plink them to death.   The Primes are disposable characters that have 5 WS 2+, reroll 1s attacks that are S5 and AP-1, and the Red Terror can eat other characters whole.   You also have a Mawloc for Turn 2 and Turn 3 with plenty of CP to pop their strat and do some guaranteed mortal wounds while also giving them AP-1 and healing.     The Lictors are there to help turn off Overwatch if need be and generally get you Recon or Behind Enemy Lines.

The Kronos Brigade is about adding a little bit of psychic threat while also giving you some more board control. The Meiotic Spores advance deploy and help control the center of the board from the very beginning of the game, and they get into a valuable target like Eliminators or Centurions, all the better.  The Pyrovores are your backfield campers and screeners since they can do surprising damage in Overwatch or in melee death, and there is one medium squad that can double-tap if you really need to for 4d6 S5 AP-1 auto hits, which isn’t bad at all for 50 points.  With 3 Neuros, one 1 the Resonance Barb, you have 3 Smites and 1 Psychic Scream, all easy to cast, so while you are not doing big numbers of mortal wounds, it can add up.  The Biovores add a little bit of guaranteed wounds, but really, being able to drop mines and block off movement or eat smites is great on its own.  If you go first, the Exocrine can move and shoot to full effect, and might as well pop Pathogenic Slime too to get D3 plasma shots, especially awesome if you get Symbiostorm off.

This is an MSU list that wins the long game, and with 27 CP, you always have stratagems at the ready, and the list is surprising durable and tricky for what it is. 

Kraken Battalion:

3x Broodlords

3×3 Rippers

2×9 Meiotic Spores

Kronos Battalion:

2x Neurothrope (1 WL, 1 with Resonance Barb)

1x Tyranid Prime with Deathspitter/Talons

2×3 Rippers

1×9 Warriors with Deathspitters/Talons

1×6 Hive Guard

3×3 Biovores

1 Tyrannocyte with Deathspitters

So this list is about avoiding damage to what matters as well as putting out some respectable mortal wounds in the early game and then slowly grind the enemy down in the mid-to-end game with more mortal wounds. 

The Kraken Battalion is really there for 2 things, Broodlords that can advance 3d6, pick the highest and charge as well as fall back and charge.   You also have 2 big units of Meiotic Spores which are just devastating against just about any target, doing 13.4 mortal wounds on average if all 9 get to explode. That’s enough to take a big bite out of any hard target or just help wipe away an annoying screen.  Throw in that you have access to Opportunistic Advance, and 1 of those squads is going to fly across the table and get into a good position, particularly with Metabolic Overdrive.  The Meiotics also let you take the center of the board early, and it helps keep the pressure off your backline and characters.

The Kronos Batt is about shooting your opponent while staying relatively safe.  You have a big unit of Hive Guard to camp ruins and murder hard targets (and a great option for Symbiostorm), and with Adaptive Physiology, you can buff them for protection against other out of LoS shooting threats.  You also have 9 Biovores which is roughly 9 mortal wounds a turn, and while that doesn’t do much against a big unit, it can add up over the course of the game, and while you don’t really get spikes, you are getting consistent damage.   You also have a big unit of Warriors putting out 27 (or 54) shots at S5 Ap-1 that come in from reserve, and if you get the Prime into range and Symbiostorm, you get a lot of extra dakka that gives you a good counter to a horde army.  

Don’t forget that you also have 5 psykers, so again, between the biovores and the smites/psychic scream, you are doing a fair amount of mortal wounds a turn, and the longer the game goes without you getting overwhelmed, the more damage you are doing.   Your two biggest points investment can also be buffed defensively and stay out of the fight, so you are pretty covered, and the Kraken batt can help buy you a turn or 2 of forward push to keep your backfield safe. 

Kronos Battalion:

2x Neurothrope

1×3 Rippers

2×20 Termagants with Devourers

2×1 Tyrannocytes with Deathspitters

Build-A-Bug Supreme Command – Prey  Sight/Bestial Nature


Old One Eye



This is definitely meant to be a skew list that is probably more about trolling than doing well, and it really is built around throwing all of your opponent’s plans out the window. 

The heat of it is that you have one super threat, the Harridan, that thanks to Adaptive Physiology, has a 5++, and thanks to Prey Sight is WS 2+, rerolling 1s, on the charge when healthy.  And charge the Harridan wants to do.  With a base move of 30” and Swarmlord right there, you have a huge threat range where the Harridan can easily jump a chaff screen and get right into the meaty parts of an army, perfect for messing up a vehicle castle. At T7 with a 3+/5++ and 30 wounds, it is not easy to kill either, and thanks again to Prey Sight, as WS 2+ rerolling, those 5 attacks go a long way, and pop reroll to wound, and the S7 isn’t as much as a detriment as before.  Plus, when the Harridan is near dead, it jumps up to 7 attacks base.  It also does some easy D3 mortal wounds when it jumps the chaff, and overall, it is just a big, mean monster that your opponent has to try to kill that is in the middle of their army. 

Plus, after all that, you still have Swarmlord and OOE to send in, and OOE with +1 to hit means the Scything Talons generate an extra attack on a 3+, not too shabby at all.  Swarmy never really benefits from the +1 to hit unless going against certain units, but the +2 attacks when near death helps the Swarmy always be a major threat. 

The Kronos Batt is there for some CP and give you some answer to a flood of bodies, namely two small Devilgant squads that come with Tyrannocytes.  20 Devil-Gants gives you 60 shots (or 120 if you double tap), and with an extra hit on 6 from symbiostorm, that’s an average of about 45 or so hits all told, which isn’t bad for 60 shots at BS 4+.   With the full heat, you are going to do a lot of damage to any horde unit, and well, you have plenty of big heat to handle the big threats.  If going against an army with not a lot of low quality shooting or there is a good piece of terrain to take, you can even deploy one unit on the board and move into range to help clear a screen if the Harridan needs a landing spot.

Again, this isn’t such much a list designed to win a GT but more make the Harridan somewhat usable.  Most top tier competitive armies can kill the Harridan on Turn 1 without issue, and the Harridan isn’t super threatening in melee all told, but again, if you have a Harridan and you love it, this is a way to get it to see the table and maybe snake a win if you go first. 

Build-A-Bug Supreme Command – Prey Sight/Bestial nature


2x Broodlord


1 Scythed Hierodule

Build-A-Bug Supreme Command – Prey Sight/Bestial nature

3x Neurothrope (WL and Resonance Barb)

1 Scythed Hierodule

Build-A-Bug Battalion – Metamorphic Regrowth/Bio-metallic Cysts

2x Primes (double scything talons)

2×5 Warriors (double scything talons)

1×4 Warriors (double scything talons)

So this list is all about getting Hierodules to try and get some work done.  Thanks to Adaptive Physiology, they both have a 5++, which can help in a world where AP-4 or better isn’t rare anymore.  Throw in the usual Malanthrope -1 to hit, and now the Maleceptor’s -1 S aura, and you have 48 T8 wounds with a 3+/5++ that are -1 to hit and -1S at range, meaning Lascannons wound on 4s, meltas on 5s, and Heavy bolters on 6s.  That’s a lot of beef and quite resilient to any ranged threat.   

Thanks to Prey Sight and Bestial Nature, the Hierodules don’t quite fall off when injured like before. At their best, you have 8 attacks at WS 2+ with rerolling 1s, and of course, Bio-Acid Spray for 2d6 auto hits to help clear away problematic units or just make Overwatch painful.  At worst, the Hierodules go to WS 4+, rerolling 1s with 6 attacks on the charge, which is a lot better than WS 5+ with 4 attacks.  At least the Acid-Spray always auto hits, and again between the increase in melee threat and the stacked buffs, the Hierodule should do some work. 

The Warriors are there to help blend through chaff units as they are S4, WS 2+ rerolling 1s, AP-1, and they heal 1 wound a turn if near the Primes. Really, they are there to take on guardsmen and the like to help clear paths forward for your big bugs.  You also still have 6 smites, (2 of which are +1 to cast), so there is a fair amount of output here.  You also have 10 CP, which isn’t bad, although really 9 CP as you will want the extra Adaptive Physiology for the Hierodule, and overall, if you like our biggest bugs and just want to see them on the table, this could do it for you.

Thanks as always for reading, and guess what, next week is LVO! I am counting down the days, and I cannot wait to see all the beautiful bug armies there.  If you are there, find me walking around in my snazzy purple Judge’s shirt.  Until next time!

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.

2 Responses to “Psychic Awakening III: Tyranid list ideas, part 3”

  1. Dakkath January 19, 2020 1:15 am #

    I really like that first list. Warriors were always my fave nid unit. Is there any way you could squeeze in a unit of hive guard?

  2. vincent weibert January 20, 2020 1:45 am #

    Hate to say it… Losing is not “having fun” most of the time

    I get that this is a Lemonade from Lemons approach to PA Nids as compared to marines/chaos/eldar, but these are niche case, uphill battles against most mid table lists and opponents, even at an RTT. Skew lists may be the place for nids at this point, but these are a bit of a reach. Experience players giving them a go against a bro over a beer may have “fun” in a toned down environment, but newer players listening to your heretofore sage advise will be disillusioned.

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