Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Old Codex 'Nid Tactica Pt. 1: Hive Tyrant
I've been getting in a fair number of games with my new Tyranid force lately, and I thought it might be of some benefit to jog down my thoughts on how the force currently plays before the new codex comes out. That way, we can directly compare the two later.
Let's start with a unit summary and my thoughts on using them:
The Hive Tyrant is a useful addition to armies that utilize a high number of Monstrous Creatures to function effectively. He is a worthy combatant as it is, but you can tailor his Biomorphs to fulfill a certain role. I suggest picking a role and sticking with it, as general-purpose models tend to be A) more expensive and B) less effective at either given role than a purpose-built unit.
The Hive Tyrant is different from most Tyranids in that it has a decent Ballistic Skill, but also has access to the Enhanced Senses Biomorph, making him quite effective with ranged weaponry. The Tyrant also has a fairly decent Strength statistic, making him a good candidate for weaponry such as the Venom Cannon that boost the strength of the attack to the max. Taking weapons to complement the Venom Cannon, such as twin-linked Devourers, will ensure that you're Tyrant fills the gap in ranged weaponry that most Tyranid armies suffer from. With the Living Ammunition special rule, it should be able to make short work out of most infantry.
You can alternatively make your Tyrant a worthy assault combatant. Boosting his stats with Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs are a good start. Extra stat boosts like Extended Carapace are optional, but promote the survivability of the Tyrant. A popular Biomorph to add is a pair of Wings, allowing the Tyrant to close across the battlefield rapidly. This variant of Hive Tyrant is sometimes referred to as a "Flyrant". The additional mobility is especially useful to assault-oriented Tyrants, but at the cost of being unable to add the Extended Carapace biomorph.
Choosing weapons for the assault-oriented Tyrant isn't a difficult choice. You can opt for a combination of the following weapons: Scything Talons, Rending Claws, or a Lashwhip & Bonesword. Scything Talons should be your first choice. They add an extra attack in CC, and is the only way you ever will get extra attacks in CC. Rending Claws are useful on regular troops, but a bit redundant on Monstrous Creatures. Since MCs negate armor saves, and roll 2D6 for armor penetration, there isn't much use for the rending ability. The Lashwhip and Bonesword combo offers an interesting mix of assault buffs for your troops and negative attack modifiers for your enemies. The Bonesword makes the Tyrant permanently under the effects of the Catalyst psychic power, which allows the Tyrant to strike back in close combat even if killed before his turn in the initiative order. The Lashwhip is not like the Lash power for Chaos (unfortunately) but instead cuts the attacks of models in base contact with the Tyrant by 1, to a minimum of one. Both of these powers are primarily defensive, but useful when using the Tyrant to counter expensive CC-efficient Special Characters.
And finally, the Hive Tyrant has access to a few of the Tyranid psychic powers. Many of these are intuitive, and don't require psychic tests, and therefore cannot be stopped by wargear such as Psychic Hoods. This is a significant advantage.
He comes with the Synapse Creature power, which makes him and Broods within 12" of him immune to the Instant Death rule, and makes them Fearless. He also comes with the power, The Horror, which forces models that wish to assault him roll a morale test. If they fail, they cannot assault the Tyrant that turn.
Some of the powers the Tyrant has access to include Catalyst- which was described in the Bonesword description above but can apply to any brood within 24" of the Tyrant, and Psychic Scream- which provides a -1 modifier to all enemy Leadership tests for units within 18". It is notable to add that if multiple creatures have this power and are in range to the same unit being affected, the modifier is cumulative. Further powers include A Shadow in the Warp- which forces enemy psychic tests to be made on 3D6 and discount the lowest roll and nullifies all results of Perils of the Warp, Warp Blast- which is one of the few powers that may require a psychic test. It comes in two variances: focused and unfocused. The focused blast is much more powerful, and capable of destroying vehicles, but it is shorter ranged, has to make a psychic test, and also cannot be performed by a creature with the Enhanced Senses biomorph. Finally, there is the power Warp Field, which grants a +2 armor save and a 6 Invulnerable save to the bearer of the power. This sounds like a perfect way to boost the survivability of a "Flyrant", which cannot take the Extended Carapace biomorph.
In summary, remember to choose a role for your Tyrant, and equip him accordingly to that role. I suggest filling the gap as a "shooty" unit, due to his higher-than-average Ballistic skill.
In the next article, we will review the Broodlord. So until next time,
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