The Continuing Quest to Make Tyranids Playable by Mark Perry

27 Jan

In my continuing quest for making Tyranids playable, I am once again visiting the no-win scenario of Dark Eldar.

Last time I looked at how I could compete on a matching fire-with-fire basis ie with a shooty list. Problem here is that if you don’t get first turn (and with the Baron you rarely do) then you are likely to take a right pasting Turn one and not have enough left to shoot back with.

So, to the next style of list, the all reserve Tyranids. This works on the basis of you wanting to let the DE player have first turn as he has nothing to shoot at for his first two turns. You then take a Hive Tyrant with Hive Commander to give you +1 on reserves and so units come in on T2 on a roll of a 3+ and if not then T3 on a 2+.

As a reminder, here’s the Dark Eldar list I am theory-crafting against (1,750 points):

HQ (105 pts)
Baron Sathonyx

ELITES (525 pts)
x5 Trueborn w/ 2 DL, Venom (2 SC)
x5 Trueborn w/ 2 DL, Venom (2 SC)
x5 Trueborn w/ 2 DL, Venom (2 SC)

TROOPS (654 pts)
x5 Warriors, 1 Blaster, Venom (2 SC)
x5 Warriors, 1 Blaster, Venom (2 SC)
x5 Warriors, 1 Blaster, Venom (2 SC)
x6 Warriors, 1 Blaster, Raider (Shock Prow, FF)
x5 Warriors, 1 Blaster, Raider (Shock Prow, FF)

FAST ATTACK (150 pts)
x3 Beastmasters, x2 Razorwing Flock, x7 Khymerae

HEAVY (315 pts)
Ravager
Ravager
Ravager

 

Against this I propose to pitch the following brood of nastiness:

HQ (285 pts)

Hive Tyrant 2 TL Devourers, Wings, Hive Tyrant

ELITE (340 pts)

2 zoanthropes, mycetic spore w/cluster spines

2 zoanthropes, mycetic spore w/cluster spines

TROOPS (544 pts)

8 genestealers, toxin sacs

8 genestealers, toxin sacs

8 genestealers, toxin sacs

8 genestealers, toxin sacs

HEAVY SUPPORT (580 pts)

1 Mawloc

1 Mawloc

1 Carnifex 2 TL Devourers, Mycetic Spore w/cluster spines.

So, why the choices made? The tryant needs to be there for the +1 reserves, wings allow him to deepstrike in and his 12 S6 shots should be able to shred some vehicles as the Ap- is balanced by the open-topped nature of most DE vehicles.

Zoanthropes are good for their synapse, 3+ invul and very occasional vehicle killing skills. I can’t deepstrike hive guard and need some shooting higher than Str 6. I have started to take cluster spines on mycetic spores recently as the attack is a large blast and so you still have a chance to hit stuff even with BS2. With Str 5 this attack is meant for killing the contents of the transport the zoanthropes have (hopefully) wrecked assuming no 11s on my psychic tests.

The deep-strike list doesn’t really work with tervigons, so genestealers for troops. In order to fit for 1,750 I could only afford 32 stealers – so choice of 11,11,10 or 4 broods of 8. With 4 broods though you have better chances of outflanking at least one brood early and on the correct board edge. They can munch transports from behind as well as be infantry killers. One brood would not last against the beastmasters, but 2 should do fine. While last time I looked at adrenal glands, I think that overall toxin sacs work better as I hope the MCs and zoeys will open the tincans for them before they get there.

The real meat though is in Heavy Support and, surprisingly, I have started to look towards mawlocs! Especially with 4 broods of stealers, most opponents will tend to bunch in the middle of the board which will allow the mawloc to disrupt a number of units – especially if you run 2 of them! Start off in reserve and then hope you roll 3+ on T2 for at least one of them to arrive. S6/AP2 is pretty good against glass cannon units and even if they don’t kill they can disrupt formations and push ravagers and venoms into the path of other units. This will have to be played a few times to see if it works and if I can really afford 2 of them.

I haven’t played Mawlocs before and had to scurry to the FAQ to check that, yes, they can choose to deliberately deep strike onto an enemy unit (or 3).

Final HS slot is the faithful Carnifex with twin-linked devourers. I looked at Trygons, but they can’t assault on appearing and then have little chance of cover the next turn. Fexes can hide behind their spore though while still being able to shoot at targets on the edges. Charging a vehicle the next turn their WS doesn’t really matter, as normal 4+,6+ etc rules apply.

I tried an early variation of this at Open War where I outflanked a tervigon and started the Tyrant and a gargoyle screen on the table with little success. Here there is nothing on the table for the first two turns of DE shooting and then everything generally arrives either T2 or T3 and right down their throats. Problems will be genestealers outflanking on the wrong side (swarmlord can get you the re-roll but doesn’t otherwise work here) and the utility of the mawlocs.

As to other lists, the only real specific anti-DE units are the Mawlocs. There is scope to always change the HS slots around to make this a little bit more all-comers maybe with a trygon and a mawloc. I am beginning to sense that hybrid lists are trouble for Nids and you really need to go for the big clump or the reserves and a mix of 2 doesn’t really work. Maybe an occasional Doom in a clump list, but otherwise your waves become too small and easily managed by an opponent.

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One Response to “The Continuing Quest to Make Tyranids Playable by Mark Perry”

  1. N.I.B. March 16, 2012 at 23:07 #

    Hi, recently discovered you blog, or whatever this is. I’m a Nid tournament player and struggling with the same issues you do – how to tackle DE while maintaining an all-comers army. But in my area 2000 points is the norm, and I feel that Tyranids get better the higher the point limit. At 2500 points, the null deployment Tyrnanid armies becomes really competitive, and I hope it can be at least viable against Venomspam at 2K too.

    The list I’m taking to my next tournament is shooty null deployment –

    Hive Tyrant – Wings, 2xTL Devourers, Hive Commander

    Doom of Malantai, Spore
    2 Zoanthropes, Spore
    2 Zoanthropes, Spore

    5 Genestealers + Broodlord with Scything Talons
    5 Genestealers + Broodlord with Scything Talons
    10 Devilgants, Spore
    10 Devilgants, Spore

    Dakkafex, Spore with TL Deathspitter
    Dakkafex, Spore with TL Deathspitter
    Dakkafex, Spore with TL Deathspitter

    8 spores, 19 kill points. It packs a silly amount of S6 shots. Genestealers outflank, Broodlords adds tactical depth, and resilience when the unit is down to 1-2 models. Flyrant usually comes in from my table edge to minimize the impact of random (to completely negate the risk of mishaps) and he still has a nice 30″ threat range.

    So, I can cripple many armies if I arrive in a bunch. The obvious weakness is the thin troop section. Nevertheless I feel it has a decent chance against DE.

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