Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Bugs!

While I do not own my own copy of the new Codex, I have read it, and confirmed it to the summary/rumor/leaked sheet I have. So in general I know what I’m talking about, some wordings I am going on memory (though I looked specifically for wording when I was reading the codex).

My previous post was about the overall feel of the Codex, and my concerns and gripes with it. I'd recommend reading it first. This one is a long summary of each unit, may need to just skim this one over. My next one should be in a day or two, and it will be about tactical analysis of certain units. Most likely the only ones I see viable, and maybe a battle report of my first game if I can get one on Saturday.

For now I’m going to give a general overview, moving through the army list. Those of you soon to face Tyranids will enjoy the insight. Be warned this may consist of some ranting/venting, but I’ll try and edit that out if I can. I’ll start with HQ and see how far that takes us. (Edit, it took me all the way, This may be long, you can skim and read the parts you are interested in. I made a few bold points you might want to read.)

Hive tyrant
Not a whole lot has changed at first glance. An increase in weapon skill and an extra attack now makes him the close combat specialist he was meant to be. He comes with close combat weapons, and swapping for ranged weapons costs points, so not likely going to happen much. The base cost now is about equal to a fully upgraded 4ed tyrant, but now you get two psychic powers of your choice included. And that’s why it’s useless.

Allow me to explain; these psychic powers are shooting powers, so if you shoot, you are not running, if you are not running, you are not getting your combat monster closer to the enemy. In addition, you can’t shoot while in close combat, so these two powers you are gaining, you get to use maybe once per game, oh not to mention you have to choose which one to use since you can only use one a turn. They are some nice powers, the two best ones are either make a unit within 18” have Ws and Bs of 1 until the next turn, or do D3 S3 Ap2 hits, and gain that many wounds, up to normal.
The useful options, like a preferred enemy aura, or granting outflank and +1 to reserves, are extra costing options. The other options, which fill the void of “biomorphs”, are decent and ok priced. Wings now cost one and a half times’ more than fourth edition, and competes with the 2+ armor save slot.

I’m going to interject here with my thought, Toxin sacs. They now grant 4+ poisons in close combat. For most units that are well worth it and you get to reroll sometimes. For anything strength 6 or higher, they are useless and shouldn’t even be listed. A 4+ with rerolls is still worse that the 2+ to wound normal for str6. If they gave it so anything S6 or higher instead had 3+ poison, now that would work.
In short, I’m now paying somewhere around 300 points for a flying tyrant, to the 180 from fourth edition. With no 2+ armor save, or even the 6++, and very little kill-potential increase. I love my flying tyrant and will probably still field him, but I’ll be a bit more conservative on the battle field and with upgrading him.

Tyrant guard.
Now I’ll be honest, I’ve always liked these guys, but never fielded them. I will now, and I’ll admit half the reason I’ll keep playing my Tyrant is to have them. Let me explain because I’m about to make an important statement. TYRANT GUARD IS THE NEW CARNIFEX. They have better stats in almost all ways to a carnifex, less strength and wounds, for half the price. They can now take a bonesword, aka force weapon. Carnifex is a S9 monstrous creature, so ignores armor and Instant deaths T4. A tyrant guard has S5, ignore armor, and makes enemies take a morale test or Instant dies.
So for practically the same price, you get one unupgraded fex, or two tyrant guard. That’s four wounds on both sides; guards have higher weapon skill and initiative, double the attacks, and can take cover saves. Oh, and they are now like space marine command squads. You can buy them when you take a tyrant, but they can operate without him. Yes!

Tyranid Prime/Alpha warrior
This is a warrior with plus one to all stats (ignoring wounds/ LD). And he is an Independent character. Pretty much replacing the Broodlord in the HQ slot, but doesn’t require a retinue. He has the standard Warrior weapon options, talons, rending claws, bonesword/lash whip, devourer, Deathspitter. Also has Adrenal and toxic options, along with regenerate. Regenerate for its price is pretty much a must, while adrenal or toxin is an either or, poison rerolls, or +S first turn, never take both.

The real beauty of this guy is the IC abilities, along with the Warrior alpha part. If he joins a unit of warriors, he increases their Ws and Bs to his. The Ballistic skill increase is far more changing than the weapon skill one, but both are appreciated. But joining other units is going to be his golden niche. He can join a Carnifex to give him cover, or join a Zoanthrope unit to soak up instant death shots. Those are the two best uses I’ve seen so far. His toughness 5 and three wounds means he is in a unit to soak up the random S8 shot. And that is also why regenerate is so important.

A monstrous creature, six wounds, and produces gaunts. While is listed as an HQ, it can be taken as a troop option, so I don’t expect to see it used as an HQ. I’ll cover it when I get to troops.

Unique creatures.
Swarm Lord
A super tyrant! Has four swords and kills everything in close combat. Higher weapon skill means Ws4 hits on 5+, and has one more wound. His attacks cause instant death, no ifs ands or buts, and successful invulnerable saves have to be rerolled. He is a walking Peril of the warp, and that is the problem, he is walking. He costs about as much the fully functioning flying tyrant from above, but is just as fragile, not as mobile; so much take tyrant guard as an escort further pushing up his point cost. Good news is he has a 4++ save, bad news it’s only in close combat. But at least it is all fair, I mean it is not like there is a Space marine special character who only costs two thirds as much, has a 2+/3++ save, eternal warrior, and is an independent character and so can join units…. I’m sorry, who is this Lysander?

Mortex parasite.
Uhm….He’s a flying lictor like IC, causes dead models to become ripper swarms, which still can’t score, so he is useless. I’m thinking of making one just for the fun conversion ideas, though I don’t like the picture in the codex for him.

Elites-Now this is going to get tricky, I’m going to try and condense it down as much as I can.

Hive guard
Seems a lot of people are worked up and excited for them. I don’t think I’ll ever use them. Think a devastator squad with only krak missiles, doesn’t need LOS, but only half the range. Ok, they are decent, but there are better options for the elite slot.

Finally don’t have to trip when they come into play, and finally have a third wound again and are survivable. Oh and they got a point reduction… you get what you pay for. They deploy like the infamous Marbo guardsman, but lost their ability to assault the turn they came in. flesh hooks are now mini assault cannons, and they gained fleet and the stealth rule, so only +1, not +2 to cover, which was powerful in fifth edition rules anyway.
The biggest change/problem is the change of pheromone trail special rule. It used to be a reroll of a reserves roll, be that a fail or success. Now it is a teleport homing beacon and +1 to reserves. But both of those only apply if the lictor is on the table already. So they would not matter till turn 3 at the earliest. I had bought three Lictors off eBay expecting them to become better. Well they are more pieces for conversions now.

Death leaper
A special (unique) Lictor who pretty much has the exact same stuff, but more special rules, and Ws9, which rocks. He has 5+ rending, a special night fight rule, makes enemy models near him roll less on difficult terrain, and also causes –D3 to an enemy LD for the game as long as he is alive (and that’s is before the game starts, not when he comes on the table). Now that is a lot of stuff for one guy, but he costs about that much too, and by that I mean about a fex worth. The common idea right now is to use him as an anti-psyker with his –LD ability.

Zoanthrope like stats (I don’t even know why they have a Bs though), the first new model shown, and most rumors were true, but he was over hyped. Yes, grants any unit within 6” a 5+ cover save, defensive grenades and assaulting those unites count as going through difficult terrain. And he also has lash whips and a 2+ poison. You can also have a brood of 1-3. Two cons; long armed metal model, and competes with other elite slots. He will be good if nidzilla survives, giving all fexen cover saves, but that’s really it.

An amazing model, they are what the Biovores should look like. Carnifex sized base and they are supposed to be close combat creatures. They have horrible stats, 1 power weapon attack, and a S6 flamer. They are never going to be used, though people may buy them for their looks.

Ymgarl Stealers
On the forums I believe they are now called Yealers. They are normal stealers with a 4+ save and special deployment and stat mutation. They may count a piece of terrain as the board edge when they come from reserves, is essentially the easiest way to describe it. But the terrain piece has to be chosen at the beginning of the game. They may also each turn choose +T, +S, or +A, and cannot use the same one twice in a row. Similar to wood elf dancers from Fantasy.

Sales will skyrocket of these guys. They got their much needed Bs increase, and now operate as a brood, both things I am happy about. Mixed feelings on their save but it went from 2+/6++, to 5+/3++. And they can be instant killed. I’m going to go ahead and say this for all Non-Tyranid players, KILL THE ZOANTRHOPE FIRST! The most important thing you could ever do. They are now our ONLY anti-tank unit in the game. (Only reliable/effective).

Doom of Malan’Tai
The special character Zoanthrope which is nicknamed Doom or DoM. This has got to be one of the greatest units ever made. If he was T5 he would be the best, but he’s T4 and so he can still be instant killed easily. He is a Zoanthrope stats, with his strength equal to his wounds. This is how he works; each shooting phase (player’s and enemy’s), any enemy unit within 6” has to take a moral/leadership test on 3D6, each unit then suffers that many wounds equal the how much they failed the test by, with no armor saves allowed. He gains wounds equal to the number he causes.

He also has a psychic shooting attack which is amazing. It’s a 24” AP1 large blast. Its strength is equal to DoM’s strength, which is equal to his wounds. Even a partial on a vehicle is going to be amazing with that ability if he has 10 wounds. Although he does have to expend D3 wounds when he uses that attack, but you almost don’t have to use it, since the passive soul sucking ability is really good by itself. The idea is to have him in a Spore Pod and have him arrive next to a large mass of enemy units. But then you gamble him in reserves for a few turns, and also it sucks seeing a 10 wound model being instant killed.

Well they have move through cover and fleet still, and that’s about it. Even if they almost halved in points, they replaced their 12” assault with running 3D6 and choosing the highest. If you give them 4+ poison and furious charge, then they are back to fourth edition cost, but without the 12” assault they are not going to survive rapid fire range. The weapon skill drop is not that big of a deal because of the imitative boost, hitting first will negate the fact they will get hit more. I’ll give them a try a few times still, but they are still the glass hammer they once were.

I’ll be completely honest, they’ve been one of my least favorite units game wise. For now I’ll say I’m upset because of the weapons. I have no “termagant” models. None of my gaunts have fleshborers; the only use gaunts served was to physically be there, either for objectives or cover, so I gave them the cheapest guns and had them on their way.
Well now my brood of sixteen spine gaunts is no longer the cheapest option. Why is the twin-linked S3 gun more than the S4 gun? Oh but the spinefist shoots equal to the number of attacks the model has! For any other model then that makes sense, but on a gaunt that doesn’t matter. Grr at GW for ruining my gaunts. Guess I’ll just pay the extra points for them. Oh, did I mention the minimum brood size increased, so I only have one brood instead of two now? Good news, with devourers having set stats, gaunts with devourers now are amazing, even if it doubles their points. S4 assault 3 at an increased range, heck yes!

For each brood of gaunts you take you can take one Tervigon as a troop option. For the same price as a basic fex, you decrease strength, increase wounds, add synapse and objective holding, the ability to create gaunts, and have psychic powers… yes please. I was reluctant to jump on the band wagon for this one. But I see no reason to not have at least one of these, and I personally believe everyone is going to convert their fexen into Tervigons soon enough. For the same points you get a 6 wound scoring fex, there is no reason not to. Plus there are other little things like biomorph aura, gaunts near him count as having his biomorphs. And he has a psychic power that gives a unit within 18” Feel no pain.

They have infiltrate, fleet, and move through cover, stuck at a 5+ armor save, and dropped by two points. They have the toxin and adrenal options, putting them about the price as the current ones, with scuttle. You may upgrade one stealer to a brood lord per squad. This gives you a model with increased stats and some decent psychic powers. Nothing amazing and I’m not sure if he is worth his point increase from a normal stealer. I’ll want to take a unit or two of these, but they will be competing with my …

They have an increase in Ws, Bs, W, A, and Sv, all for a slight price after accounting for the weapons. I think they will make a great back board objective holder, and/or a great objective assaulter, as long as the alpha warrior is with them. You did take one right?

The biggest hit to warriors is the nerfing of the Deathspitter. The drop from S6 to S5 is hurtful but understandable; the change from small blast to assault 3 can be dealt with. What is unforgivable is the range decreasing from 24” to 18”. And they dare charge a point cost to change from devourers to Deathspitters.
I’ll pay the point cost, but I’m not going to be happy about it.

Spore Pods
Probably one of my most hated things in the codex. Read the previous blog post to understand why.

Fast attack
Flying warriors AKA shrikes (did they mean shrieks, because that sounds cooler?)
Pretty much normally warriors with wings, with wings costing one third of the fourth edition cost. Looking at them, essentially free, it is crazy and I might take them up on that.

They got one more wound, and one more attack base. Pretty much exactly the same, same point cost, same stats, same weapon costs. They got new plastic models, and nothing else. The only reason they will be taken, the same reason I might take them, is they are now the only unit in our codex that has 12” assault as they are still beasts.

Flying rippers
They are rippers that are flying. Oh ya, there are rippers under troops, I forgot. Same cost, same stats, one more attack that doesn’t matter. Spinefist rippers still work, and still suck as normal, but sometimes effective.

Half the cost as they used to be, they have new plastic models that look amazing, and instead of bio-plasma they have some semi-rending-ish rule. Toxin and adrenal options, costs less than Hormagaunts upgrades. They should be taken over Hormagaunts whenever possible. So glad I converted 16 gaunts into gargoyles before the cool plastic ones came out. And bought 16 old edition ones on eBay.

The Valkyrie wannabe? A flying monstrous creature with horrible stats shoots barbed stranglers and spore mines and other blast like weapons. Costs the same as a fex. It sucks, don’t ever take one. A heavy bolter equals a dead harpy.
Spore mines
Fun little things, spend a few extra points on them if you can, and mess up your enemy’s deployment.

Heavy support
It pretty much costs double the base cost of fourth edition. But now you have weapons included, yes, but for outrageous prices and worse stats. If you want any guns on him that is going to cost you extra. A fourth edition 114 point devil-fex now costs 190ish points. Granted now the devourer is slightly better, but I would not say 75 points better. Pretty much never take a fex unless you really want bio-plasma, and by bio-plasma I mean short barreled plasma cannon. If it had the Gets Hot rule I’d have to call Tyranids vanilla flavored. You are better off taking the knife to your fexen and turning them into Tervigons or other things that cost the same points and way out perform the carnifex.

Old one eye
Add another hundred points for no reason to the normal carnifex and then give him 5+regen and like D3 extra attacks. Another thing that will never be taken for any reason.

Pretty much the same as now, new spore mine rules, oh and they fire as assault weapons, so move them away if the enemy gets close, and still shoot. Can’t really take out vehicles anymore, so mostly anti-infantry, which most Nids do well. Not a high priority unit to take, but not a horrible choice for their points.

What everyone is waiting for or feared would come. Sadly it is true, they are replacing the carnifex. Dollar wise they cost the same as carnifex. Point wise they cost as much as a fex with guns. Ws5, six wounds and seven attacks on the charge, he is a close combat beast. His talons allow him to reroll his attacks, and he even has fleet. Again toxin is a horrible option, adrenal is good if you want to attack before marines, and regenerate is a must for any monstrous creature, especially when you have six wounds.

Pretty much the same cost as a carnifex, stats are ok, Ws3, and only three attacks, but same wounds as a trygon. Not as deadly as the trygon, but about as deadly as the carnifex, and has a special attack. When he enters play, deepstrike him, if he hits enemy units, place a large blast where he would be, S6 AP2, any unit that survives is pushed to the edge of the blast, then place the Mawloc. If he is not in combat at the next Tyranid movement phase, he can burrow again and pop up next turn. And he has hit and run. Same biomorph options as the trygon.

While the hellhound like attack is cool, and the normal flamer that is 2+ poison sounds nice, and the two shot S10 48” shots, and the 20 shot fleshborer, and other assortment of guns he has is great, along with the fact that he can fire like three of them a turn. It does not justify him costing as much as a land raider, with his Bs of 3. Six wounds and a 2+ armor, there isn’t much more to him than that. It’s like a predator tank with all lascannons, you can do it, it works fine, but it’s not always the best choice for the points.

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