Tyranids: One More Week

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I am going to go over the last few weeks of leaks, reveals, and all the general chitchat about 9th edition, with a focus on Bugs of course. We have one week left before it is all out there, so I figured I’d set out my first impressions of winners and losers. Of course, everybody else got some big changes, so keep on eye on the enemy by checking Frontline’s Tactics Corner!

So before I get into it, let me preface by saying Winners and Losers is subjective, and I tend to look at things through a more competitive lens than not. So if I say, cough, Genestealers, cough, took an arrow to the knee, that doesn’t mean Genestealers are gone forever or that you can’t play them again, simply that they might not be the most optimal option available. Play what you love, and honestly, experiment. This is more theoryhammer than actual experience, so until we see big tournaments return and can look at the hard numbers, we are all going with what we know, what we’ve seen, and what has worked before. For me, after many edition changes, my favorite part is the first few months where you never know what you’ll find throwing models on the table. Alright, let’s do it:

The Winners:

Tyrannofexes are a big winner for me here for several reasons.  One, their points have not increased at or above the 20% margin that is generally the benchmark, so they are a bit cheaper (relative to other units) than before.  The ability to go into reserve and appear with some flexibility, without spending points on a ride, gives you a lot of tactical play as you can hide them away if facing serious firepower or put them up front and danger close if facing a more melee focused force.  Being able to shoot the Acid Spray into combat is also a big boon as before, one of the biggest issues with the T-fex was that it could be tagged easily, and with no way to Fall Back and shoot, it was pretty much worthless. Now you can just stand still and blast the food twice.  It is also still T8, and between the bonuses from different kinds of cover and being able to hide behind large ruins with the Obscuring keyword, they can be quite tanky, besides our usual defensive tricks.

Carnifexes, while getting a tad more expensive, are still on the up thanks to being able to kill things slightly higher than themselves and being able to shoot into combat.  Seeing as how our weapons are generally Assault, they can fire into combat without penalty, and they are versatile enough that you can really mix and match to your liking.  Plus, with Battalions only providing 2 heavy support slots, since you can take multiple carni’s per slot, you can cram more beef in without having to take another detachment. If you want to really run Monster Mash, taking 6+ Carnifexes gives you enough models to really play the mission and harvest dat biomass.

Warriors are a solid choice for troops now as they have the INFANTRY keyword, meaning they can generally do a lot of Actions for the mission, and if you take them with just double-talons, they are still pretty inexpensive for their stat line with a surprising punch in melee thanks to sheer volume of attacks.  While Warriors may not be a powerhouse unit that just butchers enemy units, they are cheap enough to try an MSU approach, and if you really need them to live, you can pop Unyielding Chitin and have them become far more tanky. 

Hormagaunts come out ahead here as while they are now more expensive, their Bounding Leap ability is absolutely more important than ever.  With a 6” consolidate and pile-in, they can maximize their footprint against enemies, so you can actually leverage your numbers much better.  Yes, Blast weapons are a thing, but between cover, Venomthropes, and a Maleceptor, you can make it quite cost inefficient to target them, and of course, you can reserve them for when you really need them.   Rocketing a bunch of Kraken Hormies into the center of the board (or your opponent’s lines) and controlling the flow of the game for the first few turns is big, and with only 5 turns now, denying your opponent a lot of movement on turns 1 and 2 while they chew their way through bodies on bodies means that you can have a comfortable lead that your opponent has to start making risky plays to overcome. 

Hive Guard are still great.  They did go up, but honestly, they aren’t much more expensive than they were at the beginning of 8th, and they were still an auto-include then.  They ignore LoS, they have AP-2, and they do multiple damage.  A patrol of 6  HG with Impalers, a Neuro, and 3 rippers is a bit shy of 25% of a standard 2000 point list, so unless I am running a Batallion or Brigade of Kronos, for competitive play, all my lists factor this in as a Kronos Patrol provides a lot of self-contained heat. 

Special shoutout to Swarmlord, who works in Monster Mash or Horde Rockets, whose points really only increased a small amount, meaning SL got a bit of a point reduction in relation to everything else.  While Swarmy isn’t going to solo a Knight or anything, it still brings a ton of punch and the all important Hive Commander ability, which can get a Toxicrene into combat Turn 1 or flood your opponent with a big squad of Hormies. 

The Losers:

Poor Genestealers.  The changes to melee range, blast, and coherency really tones them down.  The point increase isn’t so bad, but really, it is almost impossible to get all 20 into combat and bringing the heat, and for their cost, they are too fragile for what they can do. Especially since Primaris bodies are far more common, and Primaris bodies with Feel No Pain, Genestealers just aren’t the top of the pops anymore. I’d rather have more Hormies if going for an infantry swarm.  Perhaps at some point we’ll get a way to get them into combat out of reserve reliably.  That said, I could see a squad of 10 or something hiding in reserve, especially against a fast melee army where you can pop out of your own backfield and mulch something.  You could also perhaps find room for them in a weird Jormungandr build with Extended Carapace for 3+ T4 5-Bug squads to camp objectives in your backfield, but then, why not just take Warriors?.

Gargoyles also got hit pretty hard here as their cost went way up, and I was just getting used to their lower investment.  Since it is much, much harder to try-point, you don’t absolutely NEED fly for your screens, and Falling Back prevents shooting even if you can fly.  With all of this in mind, if I want a screen, I’d much rather have Termagants and bring more.  Gargoyles definitely need something new to make them viable as right now, spending 40% more points on a chaff unit for just a bit more speed is not really workable for me. 

Trygons/Tyrannocytes lose a bit of stock here as now you can spend CP to bring in reserves, and while Trygons/Tryannocytes have more flexibility, their cost gets a bit in the way.  This is not to say that they are strictly bad as again, they are not limited to coming off of board edges or anything like that, but with all points going up, taking them very much starts to cut into your available points for the punch. 

Harpies/Hive Crones are still in that weird spot where they are Flyers but not Aircraft, and they just don’t hit hard enough to really justify their points.  Speaking of odd spot, the Sporocyst is also just weird as  Fortification that has no real armor or even enough kick to justify its squishiness.  Maybe we’ll get something new to boost it. 

Who’s to say?

I am not convinced that a Termagant carpet list still can’t work in the new meta.  From my experience, Tyranids are best played as a Board Control army that wins on the mission rather than raw damage, and really, none of that has changed. Termagants are still our cheapest infantry, we still have multiple buffs to help them live (and again, you have to go with Tyranid math which means factoring in a 16% increase in defense over 60-90 models, not 10), and all in all, we can still easily fit in 120 Gants with HG and some other fun tek pieces in a standard 2000 point list.  This isn’t the most exciting way to play, but it works, especially if the meta swings to more elite armies of heavy infantry or vehicles that can struggle to overcome 120 obsec bodies.  The problem here is of course that the list isn’t entirely fun to play and it is a finesse list; if you mess up in positioning, you are going to lose. 

I will be curious to see how characters do in this edition.  With the changes to targeting, it is easier to get to them, but they are still essential for a lot of secondaries, and in Tyranids, they are essential for Synapse.  I will still likely take a few Broodlords as they did not get a big increase relative to others, and they provide both psyhic and melee threat, so they make great line backers. 

Finally, I have no clue about Forgeworld, and I’d love to see some changes there. Maybe some Hierodules that are actually worth taking, or better yet, Dimacherons that can get in there and get to work. Even without any real changes, the Dimacheron isn’t too bad now as being able to navigate terrain without penalty is pretty good, pretty good.

Welp, those are some of my musings as I dive deep, and well soon enough, we’ll all have books in hand, and games will be played, assuming you can get through whatever lockdowns you may or may not have to navigate.  In any case, good hunting fellow Hive Fleets, and remember, nom nom nom. 

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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.

4 Responses to “Tyranids: One More Week”

  1. Justin July 19, 2020 10:40 am #

    Great take on the list heading into 9th. My 8th ed tactic was a custom fleet with 60 hormies and swarmlord, i think they will habe more play this edition and its only 1 cp to dump a full squaf into reserve. I am trying them with adrenal glands and a lictor dump to get a deepstriking 8″ charge turn 2.

  2. Josh July 19, 2020 12:50 pm #

    I’m with you. I want to see the new Forgeworld rules. I have like 5 forgeworld bugs and a R’Varna sitting around in my garage.

  3. Swifty July 21, 2020 3:06 pm #

    Are we looking at the same rulebook for the Dimachaeron? Yeah, it doesn’t have terrain issues. …and? If it doesn’t get a massive overhaul it’s still deader than disco.

  4. Astmeister July 23, 2020 12:59 am #

    So does it make sense to include 10 Gargoyles or 3-5 Raveners to go on the center objective on turn 1?
    They are the only ones who can reliably reach it.

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