Tyranids: Looking ahead at the new GT mission pack

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio, and today, I want to go over those juicy previews of the newest GT mission pack that’s coming in 2022, and well, let’s see how the Hive Mind adapts to these big changes. Change is good for a competitive scene, and while we just got some new hot rules, there will soon be some new missions, and new missions means new list design. Of course, don’t be shy about checking out what the biomass is doing over at Frontline’s Tactics Corner!

GW previewed 2 new missions at their Invititional over at the Warhammer Cafe in Texas, and these new missions seem to herald the usual new GT Mission book. As someone who worked a lot of hours with the other ITC folk on drafting, updating, and polishing the old ITC 7th and 8th edition missions, I definitely appreciate how much new missions can change the meta. These two new missions certainly showcase a different direction, one that the Hive Mind should welcome. Let’s jump in:

For me, the first big change that GW itself noted is that mission specific secondaries are gone, and instead, there are simply 2 primaries. The first primary is what we generally all know and expect: hold 1, hold 2, hold more. That is the usual mantra, but instead, now it goes 4/8/12 instead of 5/10/15. To get a full 15, you have to achieve the other primary, which is only 3 points, but if you want a high score, you need to be on it. Two things to point out here: first, you have to be aggressive about the primary as you really need to try and score hold more because in the old missions, doing 4 solid turns of just “hold 2” was worth 40 points, only 5 shy of the maximum, and that is pretty workable, especially if you managed to mess with your opponent and keep them to a 5 on a turn or two (something Tyranids excel at doing thanks to our movement tricks and obsec bodies). The problem is that now, you are only 32 points of 4 turns of “hold 2”, and that is not enough to generally assure a winning score. Games in general will be a bit lower scoring now. That said, the other thing to consider is that your army needs to have the gas to keep scoring primary in Turn 5. Before, you could build to mostly get a big score on Turn 2 and 3, making primary on Turn 4 and 5 less important, but now, you really need to be able to have enough units to be able to get the full hold 1, hold 2, hold more. Again, good things Tyranids have a lot of obsec units that can be fearless and have reserve tricks to hide them until Turn 3.

Speaking of secondaries, an interesting part of this mission is not just the moving objectives, which gives a bit of advantage to the Attacker (which is nice as right now, I rarely want to be Attacker as I want to choose my tableside), but also having Priority Objectives that you determine for your opponent. That’s the fun kicker here as it would be easy to declare your own Priority Objective (of course the one behind the LoS blocking terrain), but being able to force your opponent to have to move to a specific area to score that sweet 3 extra primary points really means that you need units that are capable of taking some damage. Again, Tyranids have big blobs of bugs that are generally Fearless and can have some decent defenses (-1 to hit, Feel No Pain, even a 6++ invulnerable if going with a custom fleet). Since Hive Guard are even stronger now, putting a Priority objective closer to the front can help mitigate those matchups where 36″ isn’t enough range.

The map itself is corner deployment, not one of my favorite, but it does make for a dynamic game where you can position to threaten each quadrant. Again, with the fact that each objective but the center is going to move a bit, it would be a good idea to get some practice in with this, and really, it is worth considering with your list in mind. A melee army or a shooting army is going to approach this differently to be sure. That said, I really like this mission becomes Tyranids are great at moving through the board and taking objectives but also defending them. Even if you aren’t big into the swarm, taking some larger sized Termagant/Hormagaunt squads is gonna be important here as you don’t need to just sit on the objectives here, you have to survive on them as well.

This is a much simpler mission in many respects, namely that you aren’t moving objectives and what not, but a big difference here is how CP regeneration works. Instead of just getting one free, you have to either hold a neutral objective or one of your opponent’s (which nets you 2). This is again great for Tyranids as we excel at moving around the board thanks to Metabolic Overdrive and/or Swarmlord, and we also have a host of fast units that can easily get to the neutral objectives as they are only 4″ away from the deployment line, so Hormagaunts or Gargoyles can easily get there and flood it with enough bodies to either block out anyone trying to contest or survive some attention. The Genestealer/Swarmlord rocket can also do some great work here as they are fast enough to get to their opponent’s objective and snake it from them, always essential, especially in the later rounds when it can be harder to knock them off an objective, and in the late game, getting 2 CPs is essential. Especially since Tyranids are CP hungry, being able to get 2 in one turn and maybe an extra from Leviathan’s Adaptive Neural Lobe can be game-changing.

The 4/8/12 model is still here but the other primary is fun: kill 3 units a turn. While old school Kill Points can be a bit meta-bending, I have found that rewarding killing things tends to make the game more interactive and dynamic, and well, we do have Hive Guard, so getting at least 1 or 2 kills isn’t hard, and that can add up for the primary. That said, if going against an elite army like Knights, this can hurt as you may run into an army with less than 12 units to kill over the course of 4 scorable turns. That said, this also helps balance out armies that run MSU as they are generally going to give up 3 kills a turn, and Tyranids can do MSU, so perhaps leaning a bit less on smaller units like Rippers or Lictors is beneficial, at least in this mission.

The map is pretty standard, but again the key point is that there are 4 neutral objectives, meaning getting a CP in your command phase shouldn’t be too hard. That said, with only 1 objective in your own deployment, you definitely have to plan to aggressively move into the board, which again, for Tyranids, isn’t a bad thing at all!

There’s also some whispers (but nothing confirmed by GW) that the secondaries are changing, like Retrieve Octarius Data (ROD). It is now apparently Retrieve Nachmund Data (RND), but the big change here is that it is not automatic: you have to roll a d6, and if you roll equal to or under the unit size, you achieve it, and you get a -1 to this roll if the unit is a Troops choice. What does this mean? Lictors are going to lose their luster as ROD caddies. That’s too bad as it was really one of the only reasons to take them, but if Engage on All Fronts remains the same, they still have a place for that. It does mean that spending some CP to outflank some Termagant squads makes sense as they autopass the test, but this is more expensive to be sure. Then again, with the rising stock of Warriors, once they hand out their Synaptic Link, they can at least RND your own table quarters, and then just even one squad of Termagants can get you the 3rd quadrant for at least 8 points, and if perhaps one of your other infantry units can make it into the last quadrant.

Overall, for me seeing these two new missions, I am already evaluating my lists and thinking about how to adapt. Even with a big bug focus, I am seeing the need for at least one or two 20+ body units to make sure that I can not just get to an objective but hopefully hold it for more than a turn. Hive Guard are still great and going somewhere to reach out and touch something, but again, 12-15 Genestealer squads seem really wise as they are fast, are obsec, can still kill things, and aren’t too expensive, especially sub-15. I will have to imagine lists without Lictors, so ROD (or soon to be RND, maybe?) may not be an auto-include for me. With mission specific secondaries gone, it definitely makes me look at my lists and think of which 3 secondaries I am going to take consistently. I will definitely have to play a few games with these new missions to really see what is needed, but I am excited for new content, and again, Tyranids excel at movement, and well, these new missions certainly reward that.

Thanks as always for reading, and you know what, the countdown to LVO 2022 begins! We are less than 2 months away, and believe me, I am so ready. Get out there, play games, be nice to each other, and if you can, find your way to LVO and come say hi!

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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.

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