Going Bigger with Tyranids

Hey everybody!
I’ve been poring over my Codexes and, naturally, Chapter Approved 2018, as I attempt to bring some order to the mess that is my current projects lists, and have been drawing up a few lists for my current armies that go beyond the smaller-scale that I’d been looking at up to this point. Pretty much since 8th Edition dropped, I’ve set my sights at 1000 points, and haven’t looked much beyond that. Well, it’s time to change that, and start thinking about bigger plans! So throughout this week, I’ll be featuring some of these lists with my thoughts behind each one, and generally ramble in the time-honoured tradition of this blog!

Let’s start this festival with Tyranids!

Towards the end of 2017, I had been thinking about starting a Tyranids army, already having a couple of kits lying about from various previous endeavours to do the same. I started with a Hive Tyrant and some Tyranid Warriors, and soon got it into my head to start a Big Bugs list, already having a Maleceptor still in the box, and also the various kits from Shield of Baal. Over time, I added more Warriors and a Trygon to this collection, and picked up a Tyrannofex but soon lost heart when I actually came to build some of these things. The Carnifex model really didn’t go well for me, and to this day I still think the Tyrannocyte is a horrendous model to assemble, and have since sold mine off.

But I’ve never quite managed to make up my mind as to whether I wanted to continue down the road of actually doing anything with these guys, or if it had been a step too far and to instead concentrate on just a couple of armies. Well, since Genestealer Cults have come out, I think my mind has been made up for me, and I’m finding that I do actually want to do something with the bugs after all.

And so, I present the 1500-point Tyranid list!

This list is principally made from the models that I already have in my collection – the only things I still need to buy for it are the Termagants, so it’s not like I’m anywhere far off from it. Of course, I do need to actually move ahead and paint all of this stuff, as the only model anywhere remotely painted is the Tyranid Prime, and he’s barely had some basecoats put on him!

There are a lot of Adrenal Glands peppering this list, as I want it to be quite fast where possible. I’m excited to see how much damage I can cause by using things like the Genestealers and the Carnifex in close combat, slashing their way through anything that I can get them within range of. I’m planning to use the Broodlord alongside the Genestealers, in order to make use of the +1 to Hit ability he grants them, and also having him cast Paroxysm on the unit they’re fighting in order to ensure they’ll go first, with their 40 attacks that hit on 2s.

I’m going with Hive Fleet Hydra, which is all about the swarm. Currently, I don’t have many big units of models, so the hive fleet adaptation may not find itself giving much of a bonus for the time being. But I can definitely see myself changing some of these things up once I get to playing with the army, and I suppose I may well be replacing the Ripper Swarms with three more Genestealers just to tip the balance there.

I’m quite new to Psychic abilities, given that I usually play either Drukhari or Necrons, but having bought a box of Zoanthropes when they came out because those models look hilarious, I’m quite keen to get into this whole thing. (Plus, playing Age of Sigmar and using Magic there has given me something of an idea for how good this sort of thing can be!) I’m not going too deep into Psychic territory for the time being, of course, but I think it could well be the case that I swap out the Tyranid Prime for a Neurothrope as time goes on – in addition to having two further Psychic powers for the army, he’s quite a useful model for healing friendly units, as well as supporting the Zoanthropes.

I’ve got a Hive Tyrant in there because that model is just splendid, and I think it forms a really nice-looking centrepiece around which the army can be built. I have also built up one with wings, but the rules changes to that guy in light of how abusable he has been in tournament settings has meant I’ve decided to get rid of him from the army. It just feels too cumbersome to even try to fit him into this list. I love the model on foot, though, and have equipped him to ensure he can look after himself, posing enough of a threat that he could feasibly act as a distraction if required while also forming something of a key note within the force. He has both Catalyst and Onslaught, and I’m thinking he can cast these on either the Warriors or the Carnifex, these units forming something of the main front – the Broodlord and Genestealers will be off doing their own thing, of course, so the main motility within the army will be the Carnifex and the two units of Warriors, backed up by the Hive Tyrant and the Prime.

It’s not all about the melee, of course, and I want something that can be a hard-hitter in the shooting phase, as well. While Chapter Approved has brought down the venom cannon to make my Warriors a bit cheaper, so that I don’t mind throwing them into melee knowing that the artillery won’t be able to do much, I want a backfield unit that can just stand there and – hopefully! – demolish stuff with its firepower. Enter the Tyrannofex. A costly model at 200 points, he has a choice of three heavy weapons and, thanks to the bio-tank ability, can still move a fire them at full ballistics skill. Shockingly, of course, for a ranged unit, his BS is 4+ (moving to 5+ when he’s down to 7 or fewer wounds). I want the range, so have gone with the Rupture Cannon (another deciding factor was its name!) which is a Heavy 3, S10 AP-3 D6 damage cannon, not too shabby but still costly at 49 points. The other two weapons are more than three times cheaper, but much shorter range overall. I’m envisioning this thing much like a Doomsday Ark, and keeping it stationary on the whole, allowing me to fire that cannon twice for (hopefully!) maximum effect.

I’ve not yet found a great deal to synergise with the Tyrannofex, such as ways to improve the BS or provide re-rolls. There are a couple of stratagems that I do like the look of, and one of these has even made me consider changing the weapon loadout for maximum threat – Scorch Bugs grants +1 to Wound for a Fleshborer Hive for just 1CP. While it is a little costly at 2CP, there is also the ability to add 1 to the damage output here through the Pathogenic Slime stratagem. I’d have liked more in the way of buffs from HQ units, or Psychic powers – as it stands, I’m almost thinking the Tyrannofex is a trap, and I should perhaps invest in more Carnifexes? If only that model were easier to assemble…

I’m quite excited to start this project and get it to the table – I’ve got others ahead of the queue, which I’ll be talking about as the week goes on, but hopefully this year I’ll be able to bring you all some more progress with how this army is going.

One thought on “Going Bigger with Tyranids”

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