A Hive Tyrant (Tyranicus praefactor) is one of the "commander" type creatures that a Tyranid fleet deploys at the forefront of an invasion. It is an utter powerhouse of a combatant with its claws, cannons, and boneswords that tear through all but the hardest of armors, plus it also possesses an array of psychic powers to boost itself further, in addition to its ability to efficiently command the swarm. Due to this, its not only brutally cunning, but cunningly brutal as well.
Hive Tyrants are a large type of the Tyranid Synapse-Creatures, making it three or four times as tall as the average human, all of it violent muscle, claws, and teeth able to tear through plasteel, ferrocrete, and ceramite with ease. They serve the same role that generals do in ordinary armies and are tough as fuck, thanks to their Bonded Exoskeletons. Unlike other Tyranids, Hive Tyrants are unique entities in the Hive Mind, with personalities and preferences, meaning that if someone actually does manage to kill one, it's not only coming back, but it's going to remember who did it and be seriously pissed off plus on guard for their tricks.
The Hive Tyrant has some interesting psychic powers, but is massively expensive, lacking invulnerable saves (Tyranid 'Monstrous' creatures had a 5+ invulnerable save prior to 3rd), and can't join squads. They're far from weak, in fact in close-combat they're flat out deadly, but they sucked at shooting before 6th ed and have always lacked much protection when getting shot at. And it will get shot at, a lot, because everyone knows the golden rule when fighting Tyranids: Take out the big ones!
Hive tyrants, especially flyrants, are basically autoincludes for many tyranid lists in 8th. 4+ invulnerable saves, decent weapon options at both range and melee, and tons of options via relics and psychic powers have made the tyrant into one of the most flexible and feared units in the codex, if not the game. There is a reason why tyranids were topping competitive with lists entirely made up of these guys before the big FAQ introduced the rule of three.
- Walkrant - The basic Hive Tyrant. Used to be able to gain a 2+ Save in the tabletop, but was removed for obscenely stupid reasons. Can now (9e) get T8 for whatever it's worth. Generally accompanied by Tyrant Guard
- Swarmlord - A one-of-a-kind Hive Tyrant variant that's the accumulation of all nid ferocity and cunning and given four super-dangerous boneswords.
- Flyrant - A Hive Tyrant with wings. Master of the Flying Circus. Very good because of how mobile it is, especially if it goes dakka. One recurring meme for this thing's value is the fact that it would require SIXTY MULTIMELTAS to remove, despite far better alternatives being available.
- Swarm Tyrant - A Hive Tyrant that has been Rule 63'ed with a giant vagina. Akin to the Tervigon and are capable of giving birth to clutches of Rippers. They wield large Fleshborers. Since their female, I guess we could call them Tyrantess?
- Dagon Overlord - In FFG's Deathwatch, a very accomplished Hive Tyrant called the Dagon Overlord is mentioned to be leading the forces of Hive Fleet Dagon. Unlike the Swarmlord, it's able to drive the swarms it commands into a blind rage and can actively copy the traits of the victims it devours, all while emitting a constant cloud of poisons that would make a Venomthrope jealous. (Unusually, it seems to go out of its way to hunt down and kill Deathwatch Kill-teams, as if it wanted revenge against the Hive Fleet's past defeats at their hands.)
- Balor - /tg/'s made-up super-Tyrant for Hive Fleet Nidhoggr.
Dawn Of War
The Hive Tyrant appears as one of the Tyranid heroes in Dawn of War II. Early game, due to its high starting health and DPS, it's the strongest commander in the game, and is immune to suppression, but starts without a ranged weapon. Like the other Tyranid commanders, the Hive Tyrant is extremely customizable, being able to perform a support synapse role, or become a dedicated melee fighter, though in the late game it's outperformed by the Warboss, Force Commander, and Chaos Lord. In Retribution it also breaks the campaign in half, since the game is coded to treat it as a vehicle (all Monstrous Creatures are), and thus can smash through walls even when the campaign level wasn't designed to permit it. Hive Tyrant goes where he wants, he doesn't care. He also is notable for being one of the PERFECT commanders for a more RTS based army like the Tyranids, thanks to certain abilities such as Buffing and increasing the regeneration of nearby units, Teleporting instantaneously and fully regaining your health, or Flat Healing a huge amount of health to all units within synapse range, and then granting them a regeneration buff , still not enough sustain? how about Healing all Nids within Synapse range On each hit. alongside with it having one of the largest health pools in the game, you can make a Swarm of nigh unkillable constantly regenerating Synaptic buffed Nids to steamroll the entire campaign.
They could not have portrayed them any better.
Hive Tyrants appear as bosses in the vanilla Dawn of War II campaign and as one might expect, they can be tough opponents. The exception the Alpha Hive Tyrant that appears as a last minute final boss. While certainly not weak, by that point your squads are strong enough to the point it doesn't pose much threat, especially if you've got terminator armor from fighting the Warboss and Avatar (and if you beat either of those things, you can pwn the Alpha Hive Tyrant). The most ridiculous part of the fight that removes any chance of challenge from it is that Gabriel Angelos aids the player and can grant temporary invulnerability to multiple units, which conveniently lasts long enough to fill the cooldown gap between two uses of the Rosarius' strategic item invulnerability ability (and the planet Typhon happens to have the most Imperial Shrines to power the Rosarius' uses-per-mission). Though, even with all the cheese you have, the Hive Tyrant Alpha is still a deadly enough opponent that you shouldn't be lax at in the fight. This is especially true in the Primarch difficulty as its bio-plasma shot and charge move can kill everyone in your squad, and it only takes about 2-3 normal melee attacks for it to knock out one of your sergeants, even in full Terminator armor. So if you aren't careful in keeping your invulnerability skills up and deal enough damage to it while you're invulnerable, it can still wipe the floor with your entire strike force in a heartbeat.
That said, fans probably shouldn't have complained about how easy the Alpha Hive Tyrant was, because Relic listened, and the expansions included final bosses in form Ulkair and Kyras, who are both absolute hell, way worse than the (already mind-numbingly hard) optional bosses in the vanilla campaign.
|Leader Organisms:||Broodlord - Hive Tyrant - Norn Queen |
Swarmlord - Tyranid Warrior
|Small Creatures:||Gargoyle - Genestealer - Hormagaunt - Ripper - Termagant|
|Biovore - Hive Guard - Lictor - Neurothrope - Pyrovore |
Ravener - Tyrant Guard - Venomthrope - Zoanthrope
|Monstrous Creatures:||Carnifex - Dimachaeron - Exocrine - Haruspex - Malanthrope |
Maleceptor - Mawloc - Tervigon - Toxicrene - Trygon - Tyrannofex
|Gargantuan Creatures:||Cerebore - Dactylis - Hierodule - Malefactor - Nautiloid - Viragon|
|Flying Creatures:||Harpy - Harridan - Hive Crone - Mucolid Spore|
|Spaceborne Creatures:||Tyrannocyte - Mycetic Spore - Ether-Swimming Brood|
|Bio-Titans:||Dominatrix - Hierophant - Hydraphant - Viciator|
|Floral Structures:||Capillary Tower - Reclamation Pool|
|Other Organisms:||Bio-Weapons - Cortex Leech - Meiotic Spore |
Spore Mine - Sporocyst - Zoats
|Unique Creatures:||Deathleaper - Laius Horror - Old One-Eye - The Red Terror|