What I’ve Learned Playing Tyranids in 9th ed 40k

Hey everyone, Reecius here with some thoughts on my 9th ed 40k games with the good old Tyranids!

I love playing bugs, they’re easily my top 3 favorite armies in the game, the other two being Orks and Astra Militarum (and you can read my article in the same vein as this one on Guard, here).

Let’s Get Real

So first things first, playing Nids right now is a bit challenging. Many of our big bugs are comically bad in melee and/or over-costed, and many of our smaller bugs hit even more like a wet noodle and you no longer want to take them in big units due to the hurting the Blast rules can cause. To play them well you really have to think outside of the box and play smart. Many units lack much appeal in a competitive context.

The Bright Side

Tyranids do have a few things they do really well, so take heart! They have a few units that can get the job done so let’s take a look at those.

  • Zoanthropes: these have been the hands down best unit for me so far. The ability to throw high powered smites at 24″ on a durable and reasonably costed platform has been extremely useful. This has been made doubly so with a shift to MSU Space Marines as the predominant build in the game. Also, most Marine lists at present have little to no psychic defense allowing these units to operate at full effect. They also are tough enough to take big hits and shrug it off. Supporting them with a Neurothrope for the re-rolls of 1’s in the psychic phase is a solid call as well as adding another Smite. The ability to Fly isn’t quite as good as it was in 8th but still a nice boost and makes the unit surprisingly mobile. I currently run 18 Zoans and would take more if I could.
  • Neurothrope: for the reasons listed above and also because it is a reasonably priced HQ choice, I recommend the Neurothrope as well.
  • Hive Guard: are still a mainstay unit. With the ability to shoot targets out of LoS, being reasonably resilient and able to shoot twice (which you will likely be doing every turn) this will be your main ranged threat. Hide them somewhere central and enjoy the incredible damage they can put out.
  • Rippers: these little guys have been awesome for primary and secondary missions. The ability to pop up where needed, and being easily hidden is just great for 9th ed. I never leave home without at least 2 units of these guys.
  • Biovores: I love this unit not because of the damage it does (which for the points is pretty moderate) but for the incredibly useful ability to block your opponent’s ability to move, particularly onto objectives. By throwing spores in front of a unit you can make it impossible for them to go far enough to actually get onto an objective which in 9th ed 40k, can win you the game. I often intentionally try to increase the odds that they miss in order to maximize the movement blocking potential. When you do need them to do damage they are great for finishing off units.
  • Exocrine: the Exocrine is another great tool. It shoots very well at low AP, and with strat support can double shoot and increase it’s damage which is clutch for again, taking out those units of Marines efficiently. It’s not much in melee but it is reasonably costed and with the ability to keep it off of the table if needs be, will reliably deal some damage during the game.
  • Broodlord: the Broodlord is a solid (if slightly pricey) HQ choice that brings a lot to the table. He provides more psychic dominance, hits quite hard in melee, is fast and can be used to grab objectives away from smaller units or play free safety as a counter-charge unit.

What I am Contemplating Currently

Where I’m at now is the troops section. I am messing around with some different combos trying to see what I like. Units of 10 Hormagants have been reasonably good for systematically taking objectives away from my opponent or securing for me. They die quickly but their speed and huge pile in moves means you can cover a lot of ground for those critical turns when you have to swing the primary score in your favor.

Tyranid Warriors can still work in larger units with multiple buffs. I tried running them in min maxed configuration and was not impressed. Termagants haven’t been too hot for me unless taken en masse which is a bit boring and eats up a lot of the points I’d rather spend on kill power. My next experiment is to try running min maxed units of Genestealers as their combination of speed, hitting power and reasonable durability means they should easily overpower other objective holding units and have a puncher’s chance to survive reprisal due to that 5++.

I am also debating how many and what type of detachments to run. Currently I am leaning towards a Patrol of Kronos for all the shooting units, and a Battalion of Leviathan for everything else to increase durability of the already durable Zoans. However, there is still room to move there and experiment.

Overall, I have found the army to perform admirably, to melt MEQ units, and to be solid at scoring objectives. What it lacks is the ability to screen super effectively, and with relatively few bodies, if things go sideways they can do so in a hurry. I do not, however, feel outclassed so far and think with some smart play can hang in there and win games, particularly with adequate terrain.

What have been all of your experiences with Nids so far? What units have worked well or poorly for you?

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

10 Responses to “What I’ve Learned Playing Tyranids in 9th ed 40k”

  1. Chad August 27, 2020 3:59 am #

    Really hard to read these articles on mobile these days. 12 ads that fully cross the screen in just this small post. Pictures added to a post just look like another advertisement. What happened to this site? Is the Spikey Bits model that lucrative?

    Maybe a patreon account would help to ease the load and get back to a reasonable amount of ads. Give people the chance to enjoy the site and support the people they enjoy reading. If the video posts were transcribed I’d happily give monthly support. I don’t have the time or interest in watching hour+ videos when I could read the interesting parts in four minutes.

    • Taternuts August 27, 2020 4:34 am #

      I have to second this. I love the articles here, I have been an avid reader of them for years. They are almost unreadable on mobile now because it is wall to wall adds.

      • Ohlmann August 27, 2020 6:43 am #

        Same answer as on desktop : use a real browser with an ad blocker.

        The internet is pretty much unuseable without ad blockers. I didn’t find a single site with ads where thoses ads are tolerable.

        • Reecius August 27, 2020 9:18 am #

          I’m actually working on updating the entire blog’s appearance right now, it’s starting to show it’s age a bit and we will change the way and amount of ads that appear. Currently we have it set to let Goggle optimize it so it is a different experience for every user.

          • Chad August 27, 2020 11:12 am

            Just the fact that you respond to this type of criticism puts you so far ahead of other Reece. Thank for acknowledging that there is an issue. I understand not everyone can operate without ads like Goonhammer, but it has been too much.

            Thanks again.

          • Reecius August 27, 2020 2:21 pm

            Oh, no problem, we appreciate the feedback. We value the readers and want you all to have a good experience. The issue for us is we compensate our writers, and the blog takes a LOT of work so we want to monetize it to offset the expense, but not at the cost of all of you having a shitty experience as then, what’s the point? Ad revenue has gone down lately too due to some changes Google made so it’s becoming less worth it, honestly.

    • AngryPanda August 27, 2020 6:59 am #

      Try DuckduckGo Browser. Great privacy settings anyway and I just see 2 ads right now, both for the Frontline Store, which is more than fair enough. ( Please stop makng me drool over mats Reece, its emberassing!)

  2. Nomnom August 27, 2020 6:42 am #

    Having my nid ass handed to me by Space Wolves have been my 9th ed experience with nids so far. Lots of terrain is actually a detriment to nids in the current meta, as we suck in cc now. Lots of terrain means 3/4 Impulsors will reach my lines turn 2 and unload ridiulously good cc units that laughs at nids. 6″ Heroic Intervention is silly good, plus the ability to give that to infantry units (hello Wulfen).
    Sadly atm I prefer playing against factions that try to outshoot me, as I will just fold in cc.
    Zoanthropes are decent, until something with lots of attacks tag them in cc.
    Hive Guards are good, Exocrines, Rippers. Still learning 9th ed, we’ll see.

    • Reecius August 27, 2020 9:19 am #

      Yeah I am not making the argument that they are the best army in the game or anything, far from it, just that so far I feel like I am not outclassed to a degree that I don’t want to play them. I feel like I can win with skill and luck.

  3. dotcomee August 28, 2020 11:06 am #

    The real problem is that they have just been badly neglected by GW.

    If you bought a Space Marine army, you got so much more love from GW than if you played any Xenos race. GW needs to understand what kind of message they are sending to their customers with their releases. For me, I just felt like I wasn’t an important customer because I picked the wrong army (Tyranids). It’s difficult to keep supporting a company that doesn’t show you any love back.

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