Tyranids: Even more 9th edition information

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, well, I am going to do what I’ve been doing: parsing the solid stream of spoilers and information on the newest edition of 40K, through a Tyranid lens of course. We keep getting more and more news, so let’s dive right in and see how the Hive Mind will have to adapt to the new world.

This week, we’ve learned about tanks, monsters, terrain, and flyers, and all of these impact the Hive Fleets in some way. Let’s start at the top.

Tanks Are Back On Track

The new rule Big Guns Never Tire is just sweet biomass from the sky for our biggest and smallest gunbeasts. With the ability to fire into combat, we don’t have to worry that our Tyrannofexes or Exocrines get touched and shut down. The new Heavy rule is nice, but we don’t have a lot of units that really suffered that problem anyway as well, most of our guns are Assault or are mounted on beasties that ignored Heavy anyway. The Exocrine is a bit of a wash since its cannon is Heavy, so it suffers the -1 to shoot into melee with a Heavy weapon, but if it sits still, it still gets +1 to hit. The Fleshborer Hive is hurt a bit harder here as it is an anti-infantry weapon, but will hit on 5s if engaged. That said, maybe the Bio-tank rule will be FAQ’d to apply to the penalty for shooting into combat.

Carnifexes really win here as they get the benefit of being able to shoot into combat, and their weaponry is all Assault, so you get to use it to full effect. After pondering for a bit, I am a big fan of a Acid Dakka-Fex, a Carnifex with 2 sets of Double-Devourers and a Monstrous Acid Maw. This gives you 24 shots at S6 that can also shoot if engaged with also 4 S6 AP-5 Dd3 attacks, and well, throw in Old One Eye, and those Maw attacks on the charge get real accurate.

Having a Blast

Here, we get confirmation of the Blast rule, and yah, our poor, poor little gribblies. Pretty much all of our Infantry save for Warriors really do not like this rule as having 11+ models is just asking to get tagged hard. Especially if Frag grenades get the blast rule, there are plenty of ways for units to throw out a whole ton of grenades, so that means a lot of dead bugs. 10 and under units of Gants and even Genestealers are not really effective, so if the meta shifts to lots of blast weapons, this is bad news bears (or bugs really) for us. For Troops, 10 Gant squads might just be there to fill out a detachment for cheap and get you some disposable bodies to camp a backfield.

That said, some of our weapons will get this rule, the one highlighted being the Barbed Strangler. Does this make up for the Termagants? Probably not, but it is something. The Harpy becomes an interesting choice here as it backs 2 Stranglers, and with -1 AP and D2, you can do decent damage to Primaris units, especially if you are getting 6 shots at minimum (assuming they are 6 or more in the target). If going against a horde like Orks, getting 12 shots and +1 to hit? That’s not too bad at all. We will see if the Venom Cannon gets this treatment as that could also open up some plays. Still, the Blast rule definitely is a bit of a kick to the Termagant, but adapt we must.

Terrain Rules and Line of Sight

This article created some chatter, but if you’ve played ITC, the big change is somewhat familiar. With the Obscuring rule for Terrain, getting big terrain pieces to totally block Line of Sight is more of a big win for Tyranids than not. Our best shooting unit, Hive Guard, don’t care about Line of Sight, but now at least there are plenty of blind spots on the tabletop for our monsters and even infantry to utilize. The Dimacheron may get some new life here as it is under 18 wounds, but it can ignore vertical distances for climbing over terrain, so you can safely hide it behind an obscuring building and then pop out next turn for some sweet carnage.

Yes, this rule is a bit odd since a Dimacheron is a bit taller than 5 inches, but overall, blocking shooting lanes in 40K is important because this game is lethal at range, so melee units need a way to advance up the board, and it rewards cunning play. I think this is an overall win for the Tyranids as it gives our melee bugs a lot more room to navigate the board and get into the fight. Our Superheavy bugs aren’t all that great at the moment, and they definitely didn’t win here, but maybe the new Forgeworld update will get them in line. It is a bit funny to think that our tiny little Hierodules are visible while our very tall Dimacheron is not.

I’ll also say from the more neutral perspective, it seems like the “Enclosed Ruins” of 8th edition (also called Magic Boxes) are gone, which is great. While I loved sitting Hive Guard inside them and raining down death, it can create some feelz badz as well as just be annoying to ejudicate as a judge. Now, if you want to hide out of LoS, you need to be behind the building, not in it, and this means that fast moving skirmisher units have much more use.

Taking Flight

Speaking of fast, here we get the new Aircraft rules. The first thing I noticed was that the Harpy and Hive Crone are not there. This makes sense as they never had the Supersonic rule, so they are treated just as fast monsters rather than true jet fighters. The Supersonic rule is probably going to stay around on the datasheets, so Harpies and Hive Crones can still assault Aircraft and such, but they block movement and hold targets in melee like regular units.

Being able to move through Aircraft and ignore their Engagement Range is great, and while a tricky player can still clog the board with them I am sure, it definitely cuts down on the move blocking that the Eldar Air Force loved to pull. This is overall good as I hated getting a Haruspex blocked off by something it could never assault. Maybe one day Tyranids will get a proper Aircraft unit, but it is not this day it seems.

Overall, these are some pretty big changes, and yes, I think it is ok to mourn that Gant-Wall is likely not going to be as effective as before, but Nidzilla seems to be gaining a lot of ground. I am liking where the terrain rules are going, and it really does seem to me that big bugs are going to be where it’s at in 9th, but then again, you always have to ask yourself: can my opponent really kill 200 gants? Can they see those Gants from behind that giant building? Thanks as always for reading, and take care of yourselves out there.

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, 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.

6 Responses to “Tyranids: Even more 9th edition information”

  1. Avatar
    Brakhal June 14, 2020 2:54 am #

    That blast rule is worst than I expected. That’s bad news for Warriors too, as it will probably force them too operate in 3-5 models per unit, limiting the power of stratagems on them, and making harder to benefit from the Prime aura. Bad for Zoanthropes too, as not maxed units dish unrealiable smites. And don’t bother on taking 6 Venomthropes.

    I hope they’ll do something on “X+ models per unit” rules.

    • Avatar
      N.I.B. June 15, 2020 1:48 am #

      I don’t see anyone scared off maxed Warrior units because of the small blast rules. The min blast hits against Warriors will be 3 instead of 1 or 2.

      What’s worse are the terrain rules, in particular this: “Now, if you want to hide out of LoS, you need to be behind the building, not in it”
      Yeah good luck hiding Hive Guards BEHIND a ruin without a toenail inside. Maxed units are usually a hard fit behind, without getting to use the inside of the ruin. And it will be easy to go down the sides and draw a LOS bead to 1mm sticking out on the side of the terrain pieces. And it forces the Hive Guards to deploy further back, negating the bonus from the smaller tables.
      Also forget about hiding Genestealers in ruins, or any other flimsy cc threat with bad saves. See-through ruins looks custom made for power armour, and the absolute worst change for nids in 9th ed.

      Unless there’s something in the area terrain rules that we haven’t seen, that requires LOS to target units in area terrain.

      But for all we know Warriors and Hive Guards may be priced out of standard games in 9th, perhaps 9 Warriors and maxed Hive Guards won’t be point effective anyway. All hail Nidzilla.

      Kudos Danny for trying to spin something positive for the Dimachaeron, one of my favourite models. Sadly a 12″ move with no advance + charge won’t catch a conscious opponent off guard, and the poor beast’s got so many other problems for its crazy points cost.

      • Avatar
        Brakhal June 15, 2020 2:26 am #

        I don’t know if it is on purpose, but (gw) ruins usually come without a lower floor. Unless I’m missing something, models will be obscured behind the lower corners (they’re technically not inside the area).

      • Avatar
        Yarium June 15, 2020 4:10 am #

        I am very concerned for our Nids – but I don’t think the terrain rules are a hurtful for us. Note that these rules do not replace the Line of Sight rules. If you have a Ruin with a fully blocked off floor, you can absolutely hide there still! This just turns Ruins that have cool looking doors and windows from effectively not even being there.

        Yes, ITC ruins were even more potent that this (as every ruin was considered fully blocked off), but consider – most ITC events had foam-constructed terrain to save on costs, and that L-shaped terrain was fully line of sight blocking, and so your mileage with this rule should still be only a positive factor in our predictions.

        (But yes; still overall my favourite way to play the game – with hordes of infantry – looks to be in jeopardy. I survived 7th edition – the least Infantry-Friendly Edition Ever – and I can survive this.)

  2. Avatar
    Salted Llama June 16, 2020 7:30 pm #

    I don’t care if it makes Hive Guard less cheesy for Tyranids players – the change to eliminate “magic boxes” is a good one for 40k. It created too many scenarios where ultra-efficient-at-killing–everything artillery pieces like Thunderfire Cannons were literally untouchable. Any of those unintended loopholes should be gone.

    Keep in mind that we have still seen a very small portion of the overall rules. Right now we are still thinking of the rules (and points and viable lists) as-is, and simply bolting these new rules onto them. We have to erase all of that and start everything at zero.

    • Avatar
      Salted Llama June 16, 2020 7:35 pm #

      Oh, and just because this one rule may seemingly make one unit worse (again, only if we’re still thinking in terms of 8th edition), it doesn’t mean the unit will end up worse in the long run. It certainly doesn’t mean the army will end up worse off.

      I remember when the flyer rules from 6th to 7th edition changed and Tyranids players claimed that Flyrants were “straight-up nerfed because they could no longer charge into combat when coming down from flying.” Turns out they became a lot tougher because they were no longer shot out of the sky by simply suffering a hit, they could move a lot faster, and could fire in a full 360 degrees where they were more effective than in combat anyway. They then became a tournament staple, unlike in 6th edition where they were simply cute. Our initial, knee-jerk reactions to things are often incorrect; even when the entire community is in a consensus about it.

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