Tyranids! again


Well folks, after last week’s game with my Tyranids against JP and his Word Bearers, we’ve had a rematch where I have basically brought the same list, and he decided to change things up considerably. After seeing two squads of Havocs staring at me from across the board, I think I was just paralysed with terror and played quite badly for the first couple of turns, especially when I had my units of termagants and genestealers just scythed down in short order. Losing my Warlord in turn two was a significant blow as well, but after an initial feeling like I wanted to just give up, I decided to just try and see what happens, and was quite surprised.

I think this is something that is talked about a fair bit, when playing games and you think there’s no way you can claw something back, you just sort of give up and either don’t try, or just check out from the game and it becomes un-fun for everybody involved. When I lost that key piece, the warlord, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to come back, as he was providing a major source of synapse for the rest of the army. However, I was able to make a few things work, and it did seem to go in my favour as the game went along.


The tooled-up carnifex is quite the beast, equipped as he is with all manner of things that make him an absolute beast. Without command points, he isn’t quite as horrific, but he still hits like a brick, and was able to scythe through the Daemon Prince and the Dark Apostle with ease. The Venomcrawler put up a slight fight due to the fact JP had a stratagem that reduced all incoming damage to 0 once per battle, so my crushing claws doing 12 damage suddenly did nothing, but even so, I was able to kill it before anything too drastic happened. He was then able to charge across the field to take out a squad of Havocs and then a squad of Cultists, so he really was the MVP in that game!

The genestealers were a particular loss, I felt, as I was upset with not getting to use them as I had wanted. Well, I didn’t get to use them at all, unfortunately. That is the effects of having a shooty army vs a melee army. But regardless, through a combination of objective control and the Cranial Feasting objective, I was able to get a lot of victory points. When round 5 came around, I had reduced JP’s army to a single Havoc holding one objective on my turn, and it was 39-43 to me. We shook hands, then thought “let’s play out his turn, to see what would happen”, whereupon we realised that Havoc scored him 5 victory points without doing anything, for a Word Bearers win at 44-43! What an utter reversal!

We’ve agreed that lessons have been learnt, on both sides of the board, and I for one am already planning my next list, as I feel like changing it up a bit. Playing at 1000 points is a little hampering, although it is also good for both the size of the table we’re playing on, and for ensuring games don’t go on into the small hours of the morning. That said, given the points investment that I have made with some of my units, I don’t feel like I’m getting a lot back in terms of table control.

So I’m going to make some changes. 


Let’s start with some Hormagaunts. JP actually gave me a bunch of Tyranid nastiness back in 8th edition, although it was around the time my eldest was born, so I never really got to look at them until recently. Turns out, there are 18 Hormagaunts, alongside a bunch of Termagants, and some other gribbly bits. Taking the melee gaunts as a starting point, let’s do some math-hammer…

I like the Hive Tyrant, I really do. However, he’s a massive points sink for a 1000 point game, and he’s also a massive target. So let’s look at the Broodlord, instead. The Broodlord can improve the AP of a core unit within synaptic link range when that unit rolls a 6 to wound in melee. The Tyranid Prime can allow a core unit within synaptic link range to re-roll a wound roll of 1 when it makes an attack. The best supportive Warlord Trait for our purposes here is Direct Guidance, which allows the warlord to select a core unit within Synaptic Link range and grant them +1 to hit when they make an attack. So we’ll make the Broodlord the new Warlord, and keep the Prime in there for his ability.

A unit of 10 Hormagaunts with adrenal glands and toxin sacs costs 110 points, and will move 11”, will hit on 4s and will wound power armour on 4s thanks to the glands. The toxin sacs will make any 6s to hit auto-wound, which is very handy indeed. 

The Bounding Advance stratagem allows them to advance a flat 6” and they can still charge in a turn in which they advanced, all for 1CP. So they are moving up 17” in the move phase, and can still potentially move a further 12” during the charge phase. They have the Bounding Leap ability which allows them to pile-in an additional 3” as well, so once they’re in base contact, they can really swarm a prey unit. This works well with the Swarming Masses rule, which extends engagement range to 2.5”.

When in close combat, they have 3 attacks each and the Adrenal Surge stratagem gives them +1 attack for 1CP.

Synaptic Imperatives are the new thing for Tyranids, and give Synapse creatures additional benefits that are chosen at the start of the turn. The Broodlord allows an infantry unit within 6” to receive the benefits of light cover against an attack. Tyranid Warriors have possibly the best one for them, though, as 6s to hit in melee score one additional hit. With the amount of dice being thrown here, odds are there will be a few 6s coming out!

In terms of psychic support, there is Onslaught to allow them to advance and charge, which is fine if you don’t need that extra 6” and/or don’t have the CP to spend on Bounding Advance. There is also Paroxysm, which prevents a unit firing Overwatch, and that unit is -1 to wound when it fights back, which gives them some help if they’re going to be stuck in melee.

Once the combat is over, there is the Overrun stratagem for 1CP which allows a core unit to make a normal move after the fight phase, provided they are no longer engaged with an enemy. There is also Endless Swarm, which allows you to return D3+3 destroyed models to the unit in your command phase, to bring back the swarm to go through it all again.

I’ve been playing my Tyranids as Behemoth so far, even though they’re painted in the colours of Hive Fleet Gorgon. Behemoth, though, has got some very good utility for an aggressive bug build. To start with, they are all +1 strength on the charge. They get +1” move and can consolidate an additional 3” so they are quite vicious there. The psychic power grants a unit within Synaptic Link range +1 to wound in melee. So that group of 10 Hormagaunts is making 40 attacks at S5 and +1 to wound, with all the additional shenanigans going on. 

Gorgon makes any wound roll of 4+ a success, which is very nice to have, and can reroll one wound roll either to shoot or to fight. I really like the Gorgon psychic power, which allows unmodified 6s to wound to cause one mortal wound in addition to normal damage (to a max of 6 mortal wounds). Their unique stratagem improves toxin sacs to a 5+ auto-wound in melee.

Leviathan grants a decent camouflage for units by making it slightly more difficult to wound these models. They can re-roll one hit roll either in the fight or shooting phase, which is nice. However, I particularly like the Leviathan psychic power that allows two synaptic imperatives to be active for the army, which can be really useful. The Leviathan unique stratagem allows you to improve the AP for a melee attack for a unit, if there is another Leviathan unit also in the combat.

I think out of these three, I prefer Behemoth for the brutality of it all, although Leviathan certainly has its place!


This is all well and good, of course, but I’m fighting with the idea that actually, Genestealers might be a much better investment for all of these bits and pieces! Of course, a unit of 10 Genestealers will cost 160 points, so we’re already starting from behind, and adding in toxin sacs will bring that up to 190 points. However, the additional 80 points does buy you a more accurate, and more resilient, bug. They’re hitting on 3s and would wound normal marines on 4s without any kind of investment of command points or outside influences, plus they have the Vanguard Predator rule that allows you to set them up anywhere more than 9” away from enemy models or the enemy deployment zone.

Let’s take a look and see what can be brought over from all those buffs. The Broodlord’s aura will be very useful here, especially as he can also be set up the same as the Genestealers. The Warlord Trait of +1 to hit makes them effectively hitting on 2s, which is very useful. 

For 1CP, Vanguard Onslaught allows them to re-roll the wound roll if they charged or were charged. They also get access to the Overrun stratagem for 1CP, which lets them move normally if they finish the fight and have killed everybody. Now, their normal move is 8”, and they don’t have the myriad ways of increasing that like Hormagaunts, because you can’t give Genestealers adrenal glands.

However, when they’re in the fight, their claws and talons are S4, AP-3 and D1, with 4 attacks base meaning that is a lot of saving rolls to make for the opponent – if indeed, they get a save with that AP. Remember, the Broodlord can allow any 6s to wound to be AP-4 as well. If they gain the Tyranid Warrior synaptic imperative ability of 6s to hit causing one additional hit, that could be devastating when they’re hitting on 2s already from the Warlord Trait.

Obviously, Onslaught can allow them to advance and charge although, given how far up the field they could potentially start the game, that might not be necessary. Behemoth Genestealers will be hitting at S5 and with the psychic blessing, they’d be +1 to wound, so they’re still wounding marines on 3s but could very easily shred a unit of Cultists by wounding on 2s.

The more I’m looking at this, I think I like the idea of Hormagaunts and Genestealers working together, rather than trying to weigh up one or the other. So that’s that decision made, then. A Broodlord, a Tyranid Prime, a unit of Warriors, then the Hormagaunts and Genestealers. So I’m getting somewhere with the army now.

So with all that said, let’s take a look at the list!


The Broodlord should be a beast with all this going on. I had no idea until this week that subfaction-specific Psychic powers are known, in addition to the powers you select from a faction discipline. I know this is almost useless now because the psychic phase is going in 10th edition, but it has kinda blown my mind that it’s the case! The Broodlord can only cast one power though, so it’s not going to massively change the game. I’ve given him the Maw-Claws of Thyrax, which increase his attacks to 7, lets you re-roll the wound roll in melee, and whenever he defeats a unit in melee, he gets +1 attack until the end of the game (to a max of +3 attacks). I was toying with giving him the Resonance Barb for additional Psyker stuff, but it only allows him to know additional powers, he can’t cast additional powers unless I use the stratagem to allow that. However, 7 attacks hitting on 2s and wounding power armour on 3s with rerolls, he should be an absolute beast and I could definitely see him getting up to 8 or 9 attacks thanks to that relic. 

The Prime and the Warriors will all have some useful Synaptic Imperative abilities as we’ve discussed, so the big focus here is on sending up the Hormagaunts and Genestealers to cover the advance of the Carnifex, who will just wreck the place. Getting the Carnifex into melee is so satisfying, because he’s just so incredibly dangerous once he gets there. I think I often shy away from tooling up models like this – he has 65 points’ worth of weapons and upgrades, which is very much unlike me! But I think his recent performances have shown it is a definite investment. 

Hopefully, of course, I can make all of these plans work when the time comes, and it’ll all be just beautiful!



I have finally had a game with my Tyranids in 9th edition, just as we have the new edition coming over the horizon! I’ve been thinking about my big army of bugs quite a lot over the years, but somehow they’ve always lost out to something else. Well, finally they hit the table, as I had a small-scale battle with JP, and it was just glorious.

It helped, of course, that I won!

Tyranids in 9th edition are a little bit confusing, I have to admit. I think this is perhaps symptomatic of the fact GW have tried to make all armies really unique and feel really customised, but it does come at a bit of a cost. There are, of course, the standard things that we know and love about the big bugs, but it all just feels like there are wheels within wheels at times. But let’s go through and see what the Great Devourer can offer.

To start with, we have the classic Synapse rule, which applies to a lot of the units across the army. Synapse creatures allow other models within 6” to auto-pass morale tests. Marvellous! In addition, there’s a thing now called Synaptic Link Range, which is basically a 12” bubble around the Synapse creature, and can come into play with various aura abilities, and psychic powers. The big change for 9th though is that other Synapse creatures will allow that range to extend, so in the codex example, a Broodlord can affect a unit of Genestealers well outside of its own 12” bubble if there is a Hive Tyrant within 12” of it, and a Zoanthrope unit within 12” of the Hive Tyrant, creating that real “hive mind” feel. It actually needed me to play it to see how that would work, but blimey, it was useful in the game!


See, in addition to the rules that each model has, Synapse creatures also have Synaptic Imperative abilities that you can choose to be active at the start of the battle round. For example, a Tyranid Prime has the Guidemind ability which allows friendly units within 6” who are targeting enemies within 24” to get exploding 6s to hit. Trying to get these to line up is a bit of a puzzle, because sometimes you might want more than one to be going on (the Maleceptor allows a unit to make ranged attacks and still perform actions, so coupled with the exploding 6s, could be good!) However, whichever Synaptic Imperative is active for that round, every Synapse creature on the board can grant its effects, so you don’t need to have all of your shooty bugs clustered around the Tyranid Prime, because the Tyranid Warriors, the Zoanthropes, the Hive Tyrant, and all the other Synapse creatures are also granting the same thing.

As we know, each army has its own set of Chapter Tactics, the Tyranids being Hive Fleet Adaptations. These are subset rules that give your army its own feel, and I have really liked seeing how different armies can be made by adopting different ones. For yesterday’s game, I went with Hive Fleet Behemoth, because it’s a pretty aggressive subset, giving +1 strength for units when they charge, were charged, or performed heroic interventions. However, this edition we have a sub-subset of rules, where we can swap out different rules based on our needs. It’s very Tyranids, and is very good at giving that kind of representation of the fact that the army has learnt from previous battles. However, it just feels really confusing!

Each Hive Fleet has an Adaptive rule, which for Behemoth is to re-roll charges, and a Hyper-Adaptation, which allows you to instead change the Adaptive rule to one from the Biomorphologies table. There are three different Biomorphologies to choose from – hunt, lurk, and feed – and each one has a choice of five different rules. Behemoth can swap out its Adaptive rule for a Hunt or Lurk rule, and you can do this after deployment but before the first round begins, so it’s really quite flexible. But it just feels like it’s yet another step to go through, another decision point prior to the battle beginning, and I can see why the rules for 10th talk about being streamlined.

We’ve also got the standard sort of army-wide things, so Shadow in the Warp makes enemy psychic tests more difficult (and makes Perils of the Warp more deadly), there is a rule for the small bugs called Swarming Masses which increases the Engagement Range for these guys to 2.5 inches, which kinda makes sense. 

So let’s get down to business. We were playing a 1000-point game, mainly because it has been a long time since either of us played, and so it was much in the sense of keeping things simple. My list was as follows:

Tyranids list

I often try to stay away from heavy investments into models, for fear of them being shot off the table and therefore being a waste of time. However, I think both of the big bugs in this list, the Tyrant and the Carnifex, have had a lot of work put into them, and they really did pay dividends during the game. The Hive Tyrant has the relic Shardgullet, which replaces his heavy venom cannon and has quite the souped-up profile. In the first turn, I one-shot a Maulerfiend off the table by dishing out 15 damage to it, then in turn two I was able to destroy a Venom Crawler which got too close before shooting the Lord Discordant off the table in the third turn.

At first, I was a bit annoyed with myself for poorly positioning the carnifex, but he was able to tear apart a rhino, then due to the adaptive physiology allowing him to always fight first, he killed off the marines inside of it as well. I think the carnifex has had the most investment, though, both in terms of points and command points. I had spent some time in the afternoon before the game working out timings and whatnot, and with all of the buffs going on, he was able to get extra attacks, dish out mortal wounds when charging, spit acid in the face of his enemies, and then crush them unto death with Strength 12 crushing claws – he proved to be so damn deadly that I was actually disappointed to be killing stuff too early!

These big bugs can clearly shred through enemies!


Another shout out has to go to the Genestealers, who were able to kill the Daemon Prince over two rounds of combat (it would have been more, if only I had a full squad going into it). I think I ended up charging with 7 of them, but each of them does 4 attacks, and with all of the Synapse buffs going on they proved to be quite accurate! However, they are the poster-child for my usual tactic of just drowning a model in saving rolls. Making 28 attacks, 12 of which got through the first time, and 15 the second time, it was quite straightforward to take off those 8 wounds in short order.

Even though they were kinda pointless, I also enjoyed the fact that the Termagants proved to be just annoying, and they were able to halt the progress of the Lord Discordant simply by being in the way. A unit of 10 probably isn’t going to do as much as I’d want, though, so I think I might have to get building up some more soon, as it would be nice to have a bigger, more annoying blob to impede progress!

However, I’m under no illusions that, firstly, the smaller board size really worked in my favour, as the units were able to cross distances with ease and get into combat early. I also lost a lot of models – I’m just thankful that I could take out key pieces of JP’s army before he could turn the tide! Genestealers are awesome when they’re shredding through things, but left out in the open, they’re vulnerable with only 1 wound and a 5+ save. Once the Daemon Prince had gone, they were picked off upsettingly quickly! 

But it was a great game, and I’m looking forward to getting them to the table again soon! I’m even thinking I might reward some of them with paint!

Warhammer 40k: Leviathan

Well folks, here it is. The launch box for 10th Edition 40k has been revealed in all its glory today at Warhammer Fest, and I have to say, I’m very excited about it.

I think this is the first 40k launch box where I have a genuine desire for both sides – having recently embraced the Primaris for my Flesh Tearers project, I definitely want to get all those glorious bits; while Tyranids have recently come back to the fore for me as I’ve been arranging a game for the coming week using my bugs.

The Tyranids side of the box doesn’t look to be as big a departure from the current line as the Necrons were for their relaunch, which is nice. There are some huge things in here, which I’m quite excited about, so I’m looking forward to getting some of these onto the table in the fullness of time!

The Space Marines side of the box has got a lot of interesting things as well, which I’m intrigued by, to say the least. Aside from more character models, we’re getting a squad of flamer guys, the new Terminators, a new Dreadnought and Primaris-scale Sternguard. It’s these final two that really surprise me, though.

Since the launch in 8th edition, the official line has always been that Primaris marines are not going to replace the firstborn, but here we have a clear swap-out, as the original Sternguard, one of the “newest” mini-marine kits, is now being upscaled. The new Dreadnought is basically a Redemptor-scale Dreadnought, with the las cannon and missile launcher we know and love.

It’s interesting, because 10th edition could well be the start of these things disappearing for good, not that I want to get my tin foil hat out, of course! It’s a surprise to see, I suppose. A lot of people were expecting Primaris assault marines, with jump packs, but it looks like they may have to wait.

It looks like a cracking box, though, and I’m very excited to get my hands on it, assuming that it doesn’t just sell out in the first few seconds, as happens normally!!

More 10th edition rumours

Hey everybody,
I may be out of the loop, but this morning I seem to have woken up to the latest round of rumours about the tenth edition of Warhammer 40k. Now, I talked about this a while back, and it’s interesting to see how some of these rumours are different, yet others seem to be an elaboration upon the earlier set. What I think is a pretty safe bet is that tenth edition is coming this summer – 40k itself reaches the grand old age of 40 in 2023, and in the UK we even have a commemorative set of stamps being released to mark the occasion (how very British). 40k appears to be on a three-year cycle for releases, and given that ninth edition landed in July 2020, after eighth edition was launched in July 2017, that certainly lines up for a summer 2023 date. It’s disappointing that the edition was launched during a period of international lockdown, which continued off-and-on for almost two years. Given the restrictions on meeting with people, you’d think that the edition would have been given a longer life to compensate, but clearly the shareholders need their dividends.

We’ve also got the ongoing Arks of Omen narrative, a series of books accompanied by major model releases. Eighth edition had the Gathering Storm books released in the lead-up, which included such models as Belisarius Cawl and Roboute Guilliman, and eighth-into-ninth had the Psychic Awakening phenomenon, which saw, among other things, the AdMech range get a huge injection of models.

I think it’s pretty clear that the writing is on the wall, and tenth edition is coming over the hill. So let’s see what these rumours are saying this time!

To begin with, Lion el’Jonson is going to have a model. Well, a plastic loyalist primarch has been expected pretty much since 2017’s Guilliman came out, and especially now that we’ve got three plastic traitor primarchs on the loose, it makes sense to bolster the loyalist ranks. The Lion also makes the most sense because the Dark Angels are the loyalist legion with a distinct model range and a plausible reason in the lore for him to come back. Much like Guilliman was merely in stasis, so is the Lion, although there have been significant hints dropped in the last 3-4 years that he has also woken up. Unfortunately for the Blood Angels, Sanguinius is very much dead, and the fact that the legion was afflicted by the Black Rage because of his death, I don’t see how they can feasibly retcon the fact that Sanguinius died so that the Emperor could defeat Horus. Of course, we’re seeing the Heresy series brought to a close now that the Siege of Terra books are getting closer and closer to these pivotal moments in the lore, so things may well change, but even so. Sanguinius has been dead forever, really, and I think it cheapens the lore to miraculously bring him back.

The Space Wolves are the only other range-specific marines, but Leman Russ is off doing his King Arthur impression, and will nebulously return at the Wolf Time, or whatever. Unlike the Lion, we don’t have the lead-in within the lore for Russ to come back, I would say. Other legions like the Raven Guard and White Scars have their primarchs off brooding or fighting in the webway, and could well be brought back but they don’t perhaps have the same cache as the primarch of a legion with dedicated models. I would love to have Jaghatai Khan come back, covered in glory from spending 10,000 years fighting Dark Eldar, but unfortunately I think he’s more of an outlier.

But you never know!

The most persistent rumour has been that the starter box will be marines vs Tyranids, with the bugs getting a range refresh to rival the Necrons from the last edition. I do like the idea that GW are using an edition launch box to refresh a range, and while it has always been a toss-up between the bugs and the eldar needing a range refresh, it should be interesting to see what they come out with. Indomitus gave us a lot of new Necron units without really replacing or retiring many of the old ones, though I suppose that’s partly because the Necron plastics still hold up very well. The big plastic kit for the Tyranids is being called an Apex Swarmlord, which is interesting – there were all sorts of rumours about big bugs coming out, whether these will still hold true will remain to be seen, though. It does make me wonder what might be getting refreshed from the range – many people are expecting new Genestealers, for example, and I think some of the finecast stuff can be expected to be either replaced or re-imagined as plastic. 

In terms of the rules, we’ve had some fairly controversial news today as regards the Toughness attribute being removed from regular infantry, only remaining on the heavy stuff and vehicles. It seems an Age of Sigmar style mechanic will be adopted, with models rolling to hit, rolling to wound, then the target rolling to save. Of course, it doesn’t practically change how things work now – that’s still what you do, after all. But given that the to-wound mechanic was simplified in eighth edition and, I feel, works really well, I don’t see why this is being done. It’s also a bit odd because it’s how other games like Necromunda work, but I suppose that isn’t very important in the scheme of things.

So while I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s going to really break the game or anything.

Another big thing is how stratagems, objectives and army building is going to be re-worked. Now, I’ve talked about this before as well, but I’m not a big fan of the insane rules bloat of ninth edition. When JP and I play a game, it’s using the codex of our armies, and the rulebook. Stuff like the grand tournament packs, the narrative supplements, even the balance dataslate, all gets ignored in favour of just a streamlined version of the game. It’s still a deep game, with a lot of moving parts, but it’s a lot easier to track because we know what we’re doing. I also think it helps that we’re not stupid people trying to destroy each other’s toy soldiers, though JP just happens to do that anyway!

The scoring system for the game can be very confusing, and I’ve read a lot online about this stuff recently, particularly after the challenges at the Las Vegas Open. I tend to agree that having the mission objective, plus three secondary objectives each, potentially all of which get scored at various intervals, can be a bit silly to keep track of. To add to that, though, I read a very interesting and valid point that it doesn’t make sense that your army has four separate objectives to track during a battle. Why can’t you just play a game and have a clear objective in mind? Or just one secondary objective to deal with, as well? And why are army specific secondary objectives so uneven? They should all give the same number of points – if it’s a physical impossibility to win against marines because their objectives give 5 victory points per round, but mine only give 2 or less, how am I going to win? I have to deny the opponent while also trying to secure my own, which gives me yet more to do during the game. It feels too imbalanced. Balance is probably a myth, of course, but if I simply can’t win, why am I even turning up to play?

I saw something about re-working command points a few weeks ago that made me think. The idea is that you still get a pool of points to work with, but these are spent on upgrades for your army, such as additional relics or warlord traits, then upgrading units (the example used was a space marine captain to a chapter master, but I could see it as kabalite warriors to kabalite trueborn, as well), and then for triggering effects based on your chapter/whatever. So each “chapter tactic” has an army-wide effect, then you can pay to buff it, or use a super-effect, or to issue leadership buffs a bit like a command aura. So stratagems are broken down into upgrades, leadership, and strategy. It was quite interesting, I thought, because it really makes them live up to the name of command points, like you’re paying for a command, or something. It makes sense, although part of me does think this is perhaps how the idea started out in eighth edition, and it became a monster because GW felt under pressure to provide increasingly new and interesting things upon which to lavish your command points.

I have had the whinge before about units whose special ability has been removed and turned into a stratagem, almost as if the designers couldn’t think of enough stratagems for the army so started pruning the datasheets to get inspiration. Makes no sense to me – command points should be more flexible. I would rather have a single page, with stratagems that I could use no matter how my army had been built, than to have half a dozen “dead” stratagems because I don’t own a Monolith, for example. (And no, GW, I’m not going to buy one just to use those special effects. Put the rules back on the datasheet and be done with!)

In principle, I don’t really have much of an issue with supplemental books like the War Zone: wherever books that have come out during ninth edition, and I think it’s nice to see the designers explore things in these books like units in reserve doing shadow ops stuff, or whatever. I am opposed to the fact they were used as a balancing tool to give some armies a buff through their codex supplements, when the books themselves were then not available to buy despite GW saying their content was still legal for use in games. I would like to have a book that has missions to play through, maybe even some special rules specific to the warzone we’re fighting in, like atmospherics and stuff. By all means put warzone specific stratagems in there, if it makes sense, but make sure people can buy that book! This whole situation created such an imbalance in what different players were trying to do, and it is the principal reason why JP and I have retreated to just using the codex, and forgetting about pretty much everything else. I realise that I’m doing myself down on that front, as I believe the Cult of Stife codex supplement made Drukhari Wych Cults an amazing addition to the game, but given that I couldn’t actually buy the book to make that judgment for myself, what else could be done? 

It all seems to boil down to matched play being tailored specifically for the tournament chasing crowd, whereas in reality the game doesn’t need official updates all of the time. Why not let the TO deal with some of this stuff, rather than making everybody who plays 40k feel like they need to get all this additional stuff? Ah yes, money. Well, I guess it’s moot, because I can’t buy the books anyway!

I realise I’m beginning to sound super salty here, and need to calm down! I suppose I’m just really disappointed that the more casual-regular players like myself, who might only get in a handful of games in a year due to the responsibilities of real life among other things, can’t actually play about two-thirds of this game because of the way things are being handled.

No matter what happens to toughness, or the Lion and his plastic model, and whatever they decide to do with command points and stratagems, I just hope that tenth edition is an enjoyable game that can actually be played, without forever chasing after stuff.

Did someone say bugs?

Hey everybody,
It only seems like five minutes since I was happily writing up my plans at the end of August for what I would like to get finished, painting-wise, and patting myself on the back for how well I was doing for burning through the backlog. September is always a great hobby month for me, and I think I was looking forward to getting loads more done again, and then I just seemed to stall! At the very start of the month, I finished painting (and re-painting) the Dark Eldar Wyches that had found their way to the front of the queue, so I now have 20 Wyches and a Succubus finished for that aspect of the army, which is definitely exciting! It’s been far too long that I’ve had these miniatures floundering.

But then, I started to paint Tyranid Carnifexes! Why? I don’t know – I mean, they’re a project that has been going on almost as long as I’ve been in the hobby, it seems, but I had started to paint one of them around the time my eldest was born (she’s 3 next month), so I suppose it’s nice to have finished painting the two of them now.

I do love the Tyranids army, there’s something about seeing all my big bugs that just fills me with a weird kind of joy! The carnifex model, while I hate the fact that it goes together so poorly (it is quite old, after all), is one of the best 40k models out there, too. I just love the fact it’s this huge beastie that somehow manages to sit nicely in the palm of my hand while being full of deadly claws and teeth! I have been doing a bit of investigation into the carnifex unit, as well, and I am quite impressed, I have to say!

The first guy I have has got a pair of scything talons and a pair of crushing claws, in addition to which he has a bone mace, chitin thorns, acid maw and toxin sacs. He’s pretty tooled-up, then! As a base, carnifexes are S6, T7, W9 and A4. They move 8” and have WS3+. So they’re not the brightest buttons, bless them, but that does link in to the lore of them being mindless beasts that get flung into combat. Anyway. The way I’m thinking about splitting the four attacks is as follows:
– 1 attack for the bone mace (which grants 1 additional attack) – S7 AP-2 D2. Respectable.
– 2 attacks for the claws – S10 AP-3 Dd3+3
– 1 attack for the talons (which grants 1 additional attack) – S6 AP-3 D3.

So already, we’ve got a potential maximum 11 damage just from the basic attacks he’s making. Let’s make things really interesting, though:
– toxin sacs allow for unmodified 6s to hit auto-wounding (and Gorgon have a strat for 1CP to make that a 5+).
– the chitin thorns means I get to improve the AP of my attacks by 1.
– acid maw allows me to roll 3D6 before the fight begins, and for each 3+ I get to dish out 1 mortal wound.
– for 1CP, Voracious Appetite allows me to re-roll the wound roll.

This means that I could potentially add a maximum of 3 additional mortal wounds, so the maximum damage output is now 14 for these bad boys, if all goes well. But let’s not stop there, hey?

I’m playing as Hive Fleet Gorgon, which means that 4+ to wound is always successful (except against vehicles or titanic models). In addition, I’ve chosen exoskeletal reinforcement as my secondary hive fleet ability, which means AP-1 attacks are treated as AP0 attacks by my models. So that’s a nice bit of defensive capability there. The Gorgon-specific psychic power means that units affected by it deal one mortal wound on an unmodified 6 to wound, in addition to the usual damage – so it kinda goes against the toxin sacs ability a little bit, as I won’t be rolling those wound rolls for any 6s to hit, but the way I roll dice, it could still come into play. Finally, the warlord trait that I have chosen is Direct Guidance, which grants units +1 to hit (which works nicely, as any 2s will become 3s, so it will help to make them more accurate from the off).

Of course, I have another carnifex in the party as well. This one is a little more basic, just with four scything talons, but he also has tusks and adrenal glands. He’s modelled with a bone mace, but I’m not paying for that option (in retrospect, I wish I’d put a thresher scythe on his tail, but never mind!)

The scything talons mean he’s making a straight up 8 attacks at S6 AP-3 D3 each. He also has tusks, which means that I have access to a 1CP strat to roll a D6 at the end of the charge phase, on a 2-4 the target suffers 3 mortal wounds, but on a 5+ they suffer D3+3 mortal wounds. Very nice! His adrenal glands mean those talons are actually S7, and he’s moving 9” instead of 8”, and there is a stratagem that can boost the attacks by D3 on the charge for 1CP. So that is potentially 11 attacks at S7 AP-3 D3 each, with potentially 6 mortal wounds being dished out before we even start to trade punches!

Now, they are clocking in at around 130 points each, and there is a fair investment of command points for each of them, but I could see these guys being let loose in a squad of marines and just tearing them to literal pieces. It’s very exciting, I have to say!

I have yet to fully digest the Tyranids codex, mainly because it hasn’t really been a priority for me with having other army projects going on and whatnot – and the Tyranids army isn’t really close to completion as far as painting goes (though I do think I have all of the models that I would ever need for it, all the same…) I think I will need to overcome my natural reticence to get into melee, something that I have started to see with my Necrons in the last couple of games, with Lychguard and Wraiths doing so well, but even so – I think we’ll soon be looking at more bugs on the menu!

Could it be Tyranids?

Hey everybody,
With the world opening up now, and I’m potentially inching closer towards sanity once more on the parenthood front, I’ve been talking about 40k once again with my buddy JP, and the potential for games maybe this autumn. Possibly. September/October time is forever set in my heart as the time of year, all those moons ago, when I first got into the grim darkness of the far future, and while traditionally it might be more closely associated with the Necrons, I do also have a very strong attraction to the Tyranids, who were getting a fairly substantial plastic update at the time. Ah, memories!

With the current storyline set in the Octarius sector, with Tyranids and Orks going up against each other, it’s got me thinking about my own bug list from years gone by, and how I think the time has come to get some serious effort in with these chaps.

Massive dioramas like these don’t really help the cause, either!

It looks like the upcoming War Zone book, Rising Tide, is set to provide an update for the faction much like Blood of Baal did during the Psychic Awakening series, although I don’t remember hearing much in the way of good things there! The recent article up on the Warhammer Community site seems to be starting strong though, with a look at the synapse ability. In 8th Edition, synapse just allowed models within 12″ of a creature with synapse the ability to auto-pass morale tests, as well as making shooting more accurate for units within 24″ of them. Now, however, synapse creatures are getting their own unique abilities, which sounds quite nice! They’re a bit like these relic abilities that you can give to certain characters as upgrades – my only frame of reference is for Necron Crypteks, but I’m sure there’s a more commonly-used term! So Broodlords give nearby models the benefit of cover, and Neurothropes give nearby models fear-like effects, for the cost of a few points. What’s more interesting is that synapse creatures extend each others’ ranges, so if another synapse unit is within range of a buffed synapse creature, units within range of that unit will also get the benefit, even though they may be outside the range of the original buffed creature.


So what about my list?

I have quite a few Tyranid units built up these days, and some of them are even painted! I know! I think I’ve only played one game with them – possibly two, though it/they happened shortly before my eldest was born, and those pre-children times are quite hazy now!

Initially, I’d intended my Tyranid list to be predominantly big bugs, with just a few bits and pieces that would form something of the bulk. I’d mainly thought about carnifexes, tyrannofexes, hive tyrants and so on, without the need for painting swarms of termagants and so on. Well, once I’d played that first game, I think the need for more bodies quickly became clear! It’s all well and good having some big chaps along, but if they get picked off (my carnifex, I seem to recall, performed admirably in true “distraction” style, and died before doing anything) there’s much less you can do with your guys.

I also have a lot of genestealers, from a variety of sources, so that helps!

Adjusting for 9th edition, the army that I brought with me back in 2019 is somewhere in the region of 1300 points (it wasn’t quite to the level that I’d originally hoped!). It’s gone up quite a lot, mainly I suppose because of the amount of adrenal glands that everyone is using. However, the list was made very much with the multiple detachment style of 8th edition in mind, and of course we’re now free from those restraints, so I’ve been looking at mixing things up a bit!

I’m going for a 1500-point list, but I’m leaving myself a cushion at the moment with which to potentially pay for some of those tasty upgrades that I mentioned. So the core of this is basically the list I used last time. No Termagants, but another bunch of Genestealers (I said I have lots!) as well as the pair of Carnifexes and the Maleceptor as some pretty hefty creatures. I think I had a Trygon in here last time, but the cost is just too much for me at the minute, with all the other increases. I could probably drop some of the adrenal glands, but I do just love the mental picture of a carnifex running up the field and smashing into the enemy, followed up the field by a whole bunch of other warrior organisms. Wonderful stuff, for sure!

I’m playing Hive Fleet Gorgon, so that lets me re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the fight phase. As such, I want to get as many people into close combat as possible, particularly the genestealers and carnifexes. I’m paying for guns on the warriors and feel like they’ll be a waste in combat, but I guess we’ll have to see. As far as psychic abilities go, I’m still not entirely sure how to get the best out of the bugs, but I’m hoping that I have a decent-enough spread to help me out!

Interesting choice, perhaps, but I’m giving the warlord slot to the Broodlord. Of the three HQ options, he’s pretty much the middle of the road slot, and given the warlord trait wants him to be in the thick of the fray, you’d think I’d have instead gone for the Hive Tyrant with that trait, as he’s a much tankier unit. His relic will increase his toughness to 6 after the first fight phase in which he takes a wound, though, and with 6 wounds anyway, with a 5+ invuln, I’m hoping that I can pick my battles well enough that he is either going to do well, or survive enough that he can wreck face. The warlord trait only affects enemy units within 1″, though, so my initial idea of having him screened by genestealers (to which he gives +1 to hit rolls) won’t quite work.

It’s quite exciting, I think, having this little project to return to. I’ve not really painted up a lot of these guys so far, but from having started to paint those few models already, I seem to recall it’s a fairly quick and easy scheme to do. So I’m hoping that, as time allows, I’ll be able to get a fair few more miniatures painted up and ready for the gaming table!

As always, stay tuned for more excited rambling as Project Tyranids gets underway!!

Flashpoint: Octarius

This month’s White Dwarf has got the start of a new Flashpoint, this time moving to the Octarius Sector, ready to tie in to the new Kill Team box that is coming next month! I thought it might be good to have a proper catch up with this one, anyway, and keep updated as it seems to be a fairly major development going forward, with the next in the series of Warzone books also focusing on the Sector.

This particular flashpoint seems to be involving the Tyranids and the Orks, as a Waaagh! was manoeuvred into the path of a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan by the Imperium, thinking that they would wipe each other out. But no! The Tyranids gained more biomass to enjoy, and were able to adapt in yet more interesting ways, while the Orks grew huge on the prospect of even more brutal carnage. The Sector was then declared the planets at the heart of this conflict to be lost to the Imperium, with those worlds bordering the battlegrounds reinforced to contain the xenos menace. Reinforcements of space marines from the Deathwatch as well as the Dark Krakens (a Salamanders successor chapter) answered the call for aid along the newly established Cordon Impenetra.

The Dark Krakens began an unusual mission on the planet Death of Bianzeer; to protect a pack of ursun-wolves, to ensure the Tyranids weren’t able to assimilate the creatures into the hive mind and gain a potentially lethal advantage in the subsector. There is a lot of information about this campaign against the Tyranids, and it all sounds wonderfully atmospheric, with the space marines wading through snowdrifts while the Tyranids send Hormagaunts to burst up through the snow, or Gargoyles hanging still and silent from trees, waiting to attack from above.

I don’t think the Dark Krakens are about to become another Tome Keepers, with a whole Index Astartes article on them, but we get a lot of information about their librarian, chaplain and chapter master, with some datasheets as well. Just the one mission is included in the article, one of which replicates the Dark Krakens’ defence of the ursun-wolves. Additionally, though, there is one Theatre of War, which seems to be a set of additional rules for any scenario of your choosing. This one is set underwater, Beneath the Mirror Sea, the site of a skirmish with the Tyranids prior to the ursun-wolves stuff.

This doesn’t feel as loaded with additional rules and stuff as the first White Dwarf Flashpoint articles, somehow, though maybe they’re going to either draw this out or else have learned to balance the magazine content away from giving too many optional rules. Of course, it’s still fantastic that we get this kind of game content in the magazine! I think it’ll be interesting to see the contents of the Kill Team and Warzone books that come out, and how they link in with this content.

Still alive!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while, hasn’t it?! I don’t think there has ever been such a long break here on the blog as has just been experienced – nearly two months! Shameful. The reason, of course, is that the baby bomb went off, and my firstborn has now, well, been born. Phoebe is an utter delight – though she’d be even more delightful if she slept during the night, instead of the day! She’s only three weeks old, though, so I suppose there is plenty of time to get her into a routine that will restore sanity to both my wife and myself. It’s all been a bit of a blur, however, and what has only felt like a couple of weeks at most, has been over seven weeks’ absence from the blog here!

Having a baby has been an incredible experience, as every parent will doubtless agree, but along with all of the loveliness comes the sleep-deprivation, the sudden need to learn to do everything one-handed while supporting a growing baby, and an endless cycle of feeding and pooping. Consequently, I’ve had very little time for anything else, but as the little one seems to be remarkably settled this evening (it can’t last!) I thought I’d come here and catch up with the world.

During September, I started playing with Tyranids, which was really quite an experience, as it was the first time I was ever experiencing the Psychic phase during my own turn! Having a fairly big game (I think we were around 1250 points) for my introduction to the army was perhaps a little unwise, as there was a lot to get to grips with. In addition to having four Psykers on the table, I also had a whole boat-load of close combat bugs, so my Shooting phases were disproportionately short compared with what I was used to!

I’ve had a couple of games with them now, and I do think they’re a lot of fun. I’ve gone for Hive Fleet Gorgon, so a green skin and cream carapace, and so far I’m quite pleased with my limited results!

There is still a very long way to go, though – a couple of years ago, I was thinking about getting into Tyranids with a Big Bugs list, but that seems to have gone by the wayside somewhat!

The Autumn is a time redolent with 40k for me, though, as it was around September time that I fell hard into the grim darkness of the far future, at a time when Tyranids were getting new models during the early months of 7th edition. As such, it felt really on-point to be getting the bugs on the table. This is definitely an army that I will be exploring further!

Blood Angels

I’ve not had a fantastic amount of time to do anything in terms of my hobby, except read through old campaign books and codexes, in particular the old Shield of Baal and the last Black Crusade books. I’ve already talked about Tyranids being a big part of my September, and all of my most recent games have been against my buddy JP’s Chaos Space Marines, which has almost inevitably led me to looking at my own journey down the dark path.

However, the common theme that runs through both of those campaigns from 7th edition is, of course, Blood Angels, and after having had a (very) abortive start to that army a number of years ago now, I’ve decided to make the Sons of Sanguinius my choice for a Marines army.

Everybody should have a Space Marines force, don’t you think? I’ve been through a number of ideas, mainly thinking about them in terms of the colour scheme, but after thinking about it for a number of weeks, and having done some investigations online, I’ve finally settled on building up some Blood Angels, giving me an outlet for some of the old “mini marines” models that I still have hanging about – Assault Squads, and Devastator Squads, among others. I like the fact that the Blood Angels have so many unique units – Death Company being top of the list here, but also the fact they have their own unique Tactical Squad kit. It made sense to me, therefore, to stay away from the Primaris for the time being, and take the opportunity to go old school, to some degree!

This is a very slow project though, as I have so little time now for the hobby. I’ve built up the Devastator and Assault Squads, and also a Sternguard Veterans squad, and have kinda kitbashed a Lieutenant using a Vanguard Veteran as the base. So it’s just going to be a matter of time for me to keep going here!

Getting somewhere with Genestealer Cults

Hey everybody!
So the Codex has been out for a couple of months now, and I’ve been finding it a bit difficult to work out just how I want to build my Genestealer Cults army. I mean, there’s a lot going on here, with it being a new army with a whole slew of new models to try and get my head around and see how they work with the units that I was somewhat familiar with from leafing through the Index and stuff.

While I’ve been leafing through other codices, it’s usually my game-plan to start with a single model, or a single idea that requires a couple of models, and build out from there. With the Cult, however, I’m still at something of a loss! I think the first problem I encounter is always wanting to include the Broodcoven in my list, simply because of the coolness factor. The three HQ choices of Patriarch, Primus and Magus are something of a holy trinity, though, and I do feel like they should be at the forefront of my list. With that in mind, then, I suppose it’s time to try and build a Cult!

The Patriarch is a melee monster with some real psychic punch, as well. The Psychic Phase is not my natural home – I’m a Necrons & Dark Eldar player, after all! – and I think this could also be part of my downfall with these guys. Knowing when and how to use the best of the Broodmind Discipline is going to be a steep learning curve for me, I feel. The Patriarch knows two psychic powers and can attempt to manifest one per turn, though any familiars he has with him can lend him the power to try for a second. That could be very useful, I feel. He’s also something of a commander for both the Cult at large (allowing friendly models to auto-pass Morale if they’re within 6″) as well as adding one to the hit rolls for friendly Genestealer models within 6″. With 6 attacks of his own, he’s going to be up close and personal with the Genestealers, rather than hanging back with a screen of chaff to protect him (though that chaff will be useful, regardless!)

The Magus has a new model, I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of that by now, but I still love the classic model that came out with the first batch of miniatures for the army. The Magus is actually quite underwhelming as an HQ choice, I feel – he can allow units within 6″ to deny psychic powers as if they were themselves psykers, but if you’re not playing a psychic-heavy enemy, this ability is fairly redundant. He does know two psychic powers however, and can also benefit from familiars allowing him to attempt another one per Psychic Phase, which is quite nice. I’m guessing that’s where his main focus will be, either through buffing friendly units or else denying Overwatch with Mass Hypnosis. There are some more offensive Psychic powers in the Broodmind Discipline, but I think I prefer to keep my Magus further back than they perhaps require him to be…

A lot of Genestealer Cult players have been a bit miffed – and rightly so – that Purestrain Genestealers do not gain a Cult Creed. Indeed, I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the Cult version of Genestealers are strictly worse than their Tyranid counterparts, though I don’t know a great deal about such things. At any rate, I feel like I can’t have a Genestealer Cults army without at least one squad of these little critters, and they do have the unique Stratagem that gives them a random buff that feels like it may go some way to compensating for the lack of a Cult Creed.

Speaking of which, I think I should probably talk about that for a moment, as well. All of my Genestealer Cults units painted so far have been in the colour scheme of The Bladed Cog, which gives an improved invuln save, and negates the penalty for Infantry units moving and firing heavy weapons. Which is alright, but given my thoughts of going heavily into melee, I’m wondering if The Pauper Princes might not be a better choice, giving re-rolls to hit rolls for melee weapons on the charge. For now, I think I’m going to stick with my original plan, because so often with chapter tactics-type rules, I feel that you really need to play them to get a feel for how good they actually are.

I definitely want to include some Aberrants in the list. I’d been keeping away from these models for some reason – I think I had in my mind the idea of a relentless wave of cultists, much like my plans for Chaos. With 2 attacks each, hitting on 3s and the potential to be dishing out some serious damage, they look like a melee powerhouse. Their Bestial Vigour ability allows them to reduce the damage they receive, and also gives them a decent enough chance to shrug off wounds anyway.

It also gives me the reason I needed to buy the Biophagus, which is such a great looking model, but had firmly dropped off my radar because of the fact his only special ability is really to buff the unit.

The Primus is another useful HQ that will give +1 to hit in the Fight phase for units within 6″, as well as providing a useful buff for nearby units when they target a unit he has designated as the quarry. Very thematic, I like it!

When thinking about what to bring as a bodyguard for the Primus, I hear a lot of chatter about people using Acolyte Hybrids for their versatility. I’m not about to get all power-gamer and equip the whole squad with heavy rock cutters, or whatever the current meta has decided is the best weapon of the moment. Indeed, I’ve got a lot of Acolyte Hybrids from Deathwatch: Overkill that are bare-bones with autopistol and cult knife, and as a cheap troops choice, they’re pretty great for that!

Of course, a lot of Cult units are very squishy, with most of the hybrid Infantry being T3. This is perhaps where the mechanised portion of the list will come into play. I’ve had a Goliath Truck half-painted up for years, but I really want to add the Rockgrinder to the list, for that insane drilldozer blade! There are now some fairly good options for the Cult to get around the board, with the new bikes and the Ridgerunner. I’m thinking a lot of these things can be used to soak up Overwatch fire, which is always something of a concern for me with units like this. I do love the idea of mass-infantry, don’t get me wrong, and the thought of unstoppable waves of cultists just coming and coming at the enemy does have some appeal (I feel like I have enough miniatures that I could fairly well-replicate that idea, too!) but there are practical considerations to bear in mind!

Finally, I love the hilarity of the Tectonic Fragdrill, and would love to include it in the list. At 75 points, it should be able to find a home, and if for no other reason than it looks fantastic, I think I do need one in my life. As the centrepiece for the army, it really does look the part:

So I think I’ve been wittering on long enough now – I suppose I should actually share the list ideas that I’ve come up with!

This is something of an evolution of one of many, many attempts to make a Genestealer Cults list that I have been through so far this year! At 1500 points, I didn’t have the room for a Fragdrill, instead opting to go for more customisation on the Neophytes and take a second squad of Atalan Jackals to provide me with an Outrider detachment. While I do have four detachments in this list, I think I’m really only allowed to have three, and so there will be a number of things shifted into the main Battalion detachment, with then the Vanguard and Outrider providing the additional benefits.

While I was particularly excited about pretty much everything prior to the release, I actually ended up with just two of the new character models and a box of Atalan Jackals. These bikers really impressed me with how they can be customised, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to include them in the army from the off. Well, that soon went by the wayside! I’ve grown to love their dirt-bike aesthetic, and I think they’ll be really useful for harassing the enemy with their 14″ movement, as well as potentially tanking Overwatch as mentioned above.

It might just be me, but there’s almost a Wild West vibe that comes off these guys, as well. The name, plus the quadbike Wolfquad they use, as well as the tomahawk-wielding guy in the image above… it puts me in mind of prospectors out in the deserts, which I suppose is what the intention is – the Codex talks of these bikers using the cover of searching out new seams of ore in order to further the infestation of the Cult.

All gaming considerations aside, I think I am really in love with the Genestealer Cults as a faction, for the simple reason of their flavour being some of the strongest we’ve yet seen for any army in 40k. The idea of a band of everyday chumps forming a revolution against the Empire is terrific, and when paired with the idea of the Genestealer Cults preparing the way for the Tyranid invasion, I think it really leads to some of the best storytelling in the game. The new Elites choices that we’ve seen, from the vox-hacking Clamavus to the tactician Nexos, bring to life some of these fantastic elements from the army and it’s in-universe methods. All of the new models fit in seamlessly with the already-established mining aesthetic from the first releases back in the day, giving us one of the best, most fully-fleshed-out forces in the game right now.

I can’t wait to get started painting more of these guys!!

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.