Tyranids: The New ITC season

Hey everybody, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we are going to keep talking Tyranids, especially now that the new ITC mission pack is live and ready to rock. While Tyranids are usually not dominating the tournament meta, I still contend that they have all the tools to do so, if you are a savvy general. Let’s take a look, and of course, part of knowing how to win is knowing how your opponent wants to win, so be sure to check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner for more!

Tyranids have certain skills, skills which can make them a nightmare for opponents. What are these? Well, we don’t outshoot Tau or SM that well, and we actually don’t melee as well as other armies, so what do we have? We have board control for days, a ton of movement tricks, and a healthy mix of mortal wounds. The problem is that Bugs are a finesse army, and one mistake can cause the whole house of cards to fall, so practice is key. So with a new ITC season and some changes to the missions, let’s look and see how Bugs are ready to capitalize:

Born for Greatness:
This is a new secondary, and Tyranids actually have quite a few ways to play this.  There are two really great choices here. The first is the Broodlord.  With 6 attacks, a psychic deny attempt, and character protection, it is not hard at all to get a Broodlord up into an opponent’s lines, getting an objective, denying a psychic power, and even getting into their deployment zone.  This also makes the Shadow in the Warp an even bigger benefit in terms of denying a power. This is all more than doable, and a Broodlord is great at killing characters, but it also has enough attacks to kill a small unit.  I usually use Broodlords to hide behind a Gant screen, so it isn’t too hard to get a Heroic Intervention off either. 

Another choice is the Flyrant.  It can deny a power, and since it deepstrikes, it is not hard to get it into a corner of the board, and with T7 and a 4++, it is certainly not a guaranteed kill, especially if you are putting pressure in other areas that have to be handled.  If you go pure Gunboat, between Smite/Psychic Scream and 24 S6 shots, Flyrants are great at killing small squads and can even gun down characters if you isolate them away from the chaff.  It is actually feasible to score a full 4 points in 1.5 rounds with a Flyrant by landing in your opponent’s deployment, killing a non-character unit when you land, denying a psychic power in their turn, and then in your next turn, moving to grab an objective.  

The Flyrant is a little bit of a risk, but against an army that doesn’t give up another easy “Search and Destroy” secondary, this is doable for us. 



This changing to not include Troops choices makes Warriors a little bit more viable, and I like Warriors a lot, so running a Warrior spam list doesn’t immediately give up an easy secondary here. 


Yes, Rippers and Warriors are counted here now, but honestly, it doesn’t make a big difference to me as my lists either stacked 100+ wounds in Infantry anyway or less than 50. Unless you are going for a heavy Monster Mash list, Tyranids are going to give up Reaper, and well, that’s fine.  I mean, it is no fun knowing that your opponent has a clear path to 4 points, but then, being able to flood the board isn’t always fun to play against either.  Really, what is important here is to remember that once you hit over 80 wounds on Infantry/Swarms, just go ahead and keep pushing past.

Search and Destroy in general:

Besides some shifting of scoring potential, it is more or less the same as it was. A unit of Hive Guard are still essential for getting kills consistently, and since they can murder just about anything, they cover a lot of the different targets.

Maneuver in general:  

So the big change in the Maneuver secondaries is that you can now score 2 points in one turn (starting turn 2), and that is huge.  It allows a board control style list, which Nids are great at doing, the chance to max out secondaries early, so you can shift focus and go into a points denial mode to squeak out the win.  

With Recon, it is now easy to get it Turn 1 ( as always for us), but to save a bit of energy to go hard on Turn 2, getting 3 points total, and then Turn 3, you can move up, cap it at last, and then just focus on Turn 4/5/6 getting other secondaries or avoiding giving up points.  There have been plenty of games where I ran out of steam after 3, so it was either score Recon on Turn 4 or keep a precious unit alive, so I had to accept only getting 3 points instead of 4, but under these new rules, I definitely would have been able to max it out on 3.   This change also helps slower lists as you can not get Recon on Turn 1 and then smash hard on 2 and 3 to max it out. 

If you are taking a ton of Ripper swarms, Behind Enemy Lines becomes pretty easy to achieve. It also makes Deathleaper and/or The Red Terror a totally valid choice as you can deepstrike them on Turn 2, and since DL/RT are characters, they can be hard to actually shoot, and the Rippers can screen for them by landing in a hidden area.  Deathleaper is especially hard to unroot from cover, so for 60 points, you are looking at an easy way to score some points.  


This is a really fun one that actually rewards a more aggressive infantry horde.  I am a big fan of using 30 Gant squads as Engineers as they are resilient as hell, especially with all the buffs, and so they won’t die easy, and if your opponent is putting in serious firepower to them, then they aren’t putting that firepower towards your forward threat.  The same logic here applies with Sappers, but it also has the bonus of denying your opponent an objective.  This really is huge as again, Tyranids excel as a board control army, so actively being able to take an objective away can absolutely be game-winning.  Not only are you scoring a point for this secondary, but you can easily be scoring another point for Hold More in the primary, so this secondary is bonkers good if you build for it.  Hormies are  a bit more expensive but are definitely much faster, so they can get up into the middle to start stealing objectives away as fast as possible.  You can do this with Gants too and Swarmlord or even just Metabolic Overdrive, but in any case, being able to jump up and start taking away your opponent’s ability to hold more than you is just awesome. 

The Post Man

This is another mission where a Broodlord shines.  Thanks to Sp 8 and the ability to advance and charge, the Broodlord can absolutely traverse the board and snag these points.  A stealth choice might also be a Neurothrope. They can fly, are pretty resilient, and generally are there to throw out synapse and some smites, but at 90 points, they are also pretty throwaway.  Since they have no guns and rarely want to charge, they can advance all they want.  A broodlord is likely better, but it depends entirely on the mission and your opponent’s forces.  This is a fun option, but mostly for fun as Tyranids can get most of the other secondaries much easier than this.

In general, the change to allow multiple scoring at once for the Maneuver missions is really a huge bonus for Tyranids.  The only downside is that Monster-Mash Nids are not very strong in the ITC mission set, or most missions sets really, but even then, if you take enough Rippers, getting Behind Enemy Lines isn’t too hard.

Thanks as always for reading, and be sure to share how you’ve fared so far in the new ITC Season. My gant horde has done me well thus far, but let’s here from the rest of the Hive Mind.

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 “Tyranids: The New ITC season”

  1. Xenos Player March 8, 2020 2:35 pm #

    Just in the process of converting my own Red Terror with the aim of trying 4 Ripper Swarms, Lictor, Red Terror and Deathleaper for recon and BEL. I did use BFG with a Flyrant the other day and that went very well. I think deathleaper might be a good shout for postman 9″ move character with -2 to hit.

  2. Andy March 8, 2020 2:37 pm #

    Do you think gribblies of any sort can see play while the RG cent heavy armies kill them almost accidently.

    I play tested a lot and infantry heavy nid armies lose more than half the games going 1st Vs RG and didn’t win going 2nd.

    I don’t think I possess the units to win trades, without that they can’t control the board.

  3. Brakhal March 9, 2020 6:38 am #

    I found Warriors to be good engineers/sappers, equiped just with boneswords. They can sustain a lot more damage than gants, still have access to movement stratagems, and they are dangerous to lock in combat, if the opponent wants deny those points. The main problem is that you can’t pick 3 maneuvers, and recon and bel are relatively consistent to achieve, with a board control army.

    The real struggle comes with the mandatory seek and destroy mission.

    • Reecius March 9, 2020 9:49 am #

      I have found Warriors to be great in general now with all the various buffs available to them.

      • Brakhal March 9, 2020 12:40 pm #

        They got fairly improved. The main drawback I see now, with them, is the maximum of 2 phisiologies per army. Enhanced resistance feels really mandatory for them, to stop being expensive models who die against all kinds of firepower, while murderous size feels mandatory to every cc monster in the book. If you pick Warriors, a Haruspex is not an option, while if you want to give dermic symbiosis or voracious ammo for other monsters, nice but not mandatory phisiologies, you shouldn’t take any unit depending on the previous ones. It limits list building.

        I still have to test Kronos Warriors with a Prime under the effects of the new power. Is a tought call to loose the movility of Kraken, but numbers look decent, and I’m always struggling to get some killing momentum with my lists.

        • Reecius March 9, 2020 1:39 pm #

          They’re not really expensive though is the thing. 18pts for what you get is awesome. You can run them with just ScyTals and beef up their AP and it’s a solid unit. Toss on a Deathspitter if you want some good firepower and it’s still very reasonable for the total package.

        • N.I.B. March 12, 2020 1:35 pm #

          Some recent tournaments have nids claiming podium placings, not sure if it’s down to ITC changes, but it could be a factor. And the PA boons kicking in.

          Here’s the 3rd placed list at GhengisCon, with both Warriors and a Haruspex! So it’s apparently viable.

          Double Hydra battalion (who saw that coming?)

          Hydra battalion
          Stratagem: Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

          Tervigon: Adrenal Glands, Resonance Barb, Stinger Salvo, Toxin Sacs. Adaptive Physiology: Dermic Symbiosis, Power: Death Shriek. Warlord.

          20 Genestealers
          30 Termagants
          29 Termagants

          Hydra battalion
          The Swarmlord: Catalyst, Power: The Horror
          Tyranid Prime: Boneswords, Scything Talons

          20 Genestealers
          20 Hormagaunts
          9 Tyranid Warriors (6 Boneswords/Deathspitter, 3 Boneswords/Venom Cannon)



          • Reecius March 13, 2020 10:53 am

            Warriors are 100% legit now, IMO.

            Interesting use of Hydra, I like it!

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