Warhammer 40,000/6th Edition Tactics/Tyranids

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This is a previous edition's tactics. The current edition tactica can be found here.

Clean-Up.jpgThis page is in need of cleanup. Srsly. It's a fucking mess.

Why Play Tyranids[edit]

Because you're hungry!!!

(Cough) From a gameplay perspective, the Tyranid army is a tactically engaging force with a lot of strengths, as well as some weaknesses which must be dealt with in order to make the most of them. The army itself is noted for being able to purchase a variety of deployment options, including manipulation of Reserve Rolls if you take the Swarmlord, the ability to reroll the table edge from Outflanking, and other options to complement conventional Deep Strike and Infiltration options; the Tyranids therefore have a degree of flexibility in building a force which operates in a manner besides simply lining their force opposite the opponent's guns. Likewise, they possess a fair amount of support units, capable of either buffing or debuffing units as need be, or otherwise acting as force-multipliers to the army as a whole. As much as they can now. No more access to the main rulebook psychic powers means no more iron arm, warp speed, or anything else we liked. Its only the tyranid psychic powers now, or nothing... (Although the 'nid only powers could be a lot worse)

In melee, the Tyranids operate off numerous cheap infantry, complemented by larger (and far pricier) Monstrous Creatures; the former are exceptionally point-efficient at taking out enemy infantry, and when properly supported will defeat almost anything in close-combat on account of their high initiative and mass of Poisoned/Furious Charge attacks. The Monsters *can* deal with heavier infantry (especially Trygons and the new Haruspex), but their lack of attacks for their cost generally make them more useful for finishing off vehicles or acting as a living shield to pull attacks away from your swarms. In some cases it is a good idea to make assaults into cover using heavy linebreakers like Trygons since the overwhelming majority of Tyranid units lack assault grenades. Warriors now have assault grenades, but still have a problem with ID. Your units will be Fearless most of the time, a mixed bag: unable to go to ground out of combat, but more importantly, ideal tarpits while in combat. Learning to screen your army and understanding which units to sacrifice to achieve victory is critical.

Tyranid shooting is primarily geared towards anti-infantry, with an abundance of Large Blast and rapid rate-of-fire weapons available to them. However, their anti-tank is either short-ranged, unreliable, of low Strength and AP, or any combination of the three; as a rule, Tyranids shouldn't try to kill vehicles by shooting, so much as disable them and render them vulnerable to being torn apart in melee, with a few exceptions (Zoanthropes and Hive Guard). However, they now have a fresh option with the new bio-electric weapons. They have haywire, so vehicles aren't too tough to take out. But you still need hiveguard or the new flyer, the Hive Crone, to get it.

The current codex is a mixed bag. It's got one or two good builds (Flyrant + Hive Crones + Carnifexes) but most of your stuff just isn't worth taking in the current metagame. It can be great at the best of times and at worst is little more than a copypaste of the 5th ed. codex with more nerfs. Gone are some of the good units like Doom of Malan'tai and the Parasite of Mortrex, the ability to use psychic powers from a Discipline, and the option to use Mycetic spores (due to the Chapter House incident leading to GW not to make rules for any units which don't have their own models). That said, Spore Mines are legitimately usable now, Gaunts are cheaper, Exocrine and Haruspex are actually quite decent (of course GW would make the new units decent; another attempt to squeeze more money out of their customers), and almost all of the monsters are cheaper. However, perhaps most importantly, the Carnifex is now a viable choice due to a points drop and access to its old options. It's up to people's opinions as to whether the good outweighs the bad, some people like the changes, others think they will suffer for it. I guess we'll have to wait and see like last time.

Note: In a surprising show of mercy, GW is releasing a three-part set of Dataslates full of Formations that Tyranids can use in exchange for their disappointing lack of other forces. Some aren't as good as others, but considering the situation, any hand helps.

Warlord Traits[edit]

(1) Nature's Bane – At the beginning of each movement phase select one jungle (forest, trees, swamp, you get the idea) within 12" of the warlord; it becomes carnivorous for the game. You know what carnivorous jungles kill really well? Gaunts. This warlord trait is situational at best, better hope for a different one.

(2) Heightened Senses – The warlord and Nids within 12" have Night Vision. While potentially useful this means your warlord should stay near shooty units. Viable on a Tyranid Prime, not so much on anything else.

(3) Synaptic Lynchpin – The warlord has an 18" synapse range. The Swarmlord gets this by default, which honestly is kind of stupid since Mind Eater would be far more useful for it.

(4) Mind Eater – 2 VP for independents slain by the warlord in a challenge. Deathleaper gets this by default, which is a waste since it's too fragile to stand up to most ICs.

(5) Digestive Denial – After deployment, pick one piece of terrain on opponent's side that was NOT paid for, the cover save worsens by one (ie 4+ becomes a 5+, etc.) This can be beneficial if you are doing quite a bit of anti light infantry/vehicle shooting with the Exocrine and is also good generally, but in most cases armour will be the issue, not cover.

(6) Adaptive Biology – The Warlord gains Feel No Pain (5+) on the next movement phase after it suffers a wound for the rest of the game, even if you regenerate it. Old One Eye gets this by default, finally something that makes sense. This is the one you want.

Luckily, they did forget to restrict us to Tyranid-only Warlord Traits a la the psychic power tables, so you can still roll on the BRB table for your trait.

Powers of the Hive Mind[edit]

This is the only psychic discipline table your psykers will be rolling on. The good news is most of the powers are good in terms of Blessings and screwing up enemy units. While the Great Devourer can't use Rulebook disciplines, Powers of the Hive Mind still gives you the goodies you need.

(0). Dominion: Adds 6" to the Psyker's Synapse Range. Pretty decent, never hurts to give your swarms more breathing room from being crammed up.

(1). Catalyst: Psyker and one friendly unit within 12" gains Feel No Pain. What's not to like? Cast this puppy on that 30-strong brood of Devilgaunts in area terrain with a Venomthrope for a 3+ cover 5+ FNP, and anyone who can't bring Ignores Cover S6 weapons is little more than lunch meat.

(2). DA HORROR!!!: *ahem*, sorry about that. A malediction that makes an enemy unit up to 24" take a pinning test with a -2 modifier. This one is... Okay. Much like Fear, Pinning shouldn't be relied on. Though it can still be useful in certain situations. Broodlords only know this power. (but seriously, the power is 24", and Broodlords+Genestealers can Infiltrate within 18" in plain sight or 12" without line of sight, making mass-Genestealer lists potentially devastating against armies that aren't immune to Pinning)

(3). Onslaught: Oh look, a 24" blessing that lets a unit run AND shoot in the Shooting phase. Makes up for the relatively short range weapons that need to get close quickly like Impaler Cannons, Devourers, Bio-Plasma and Bio-Plasmic Cannons. Also good for Warp Blast mentioned below, as the Lance is fairly short ranged and wants to get to vehicles. A good power to have!

(4). Paroxysm: Same as Horror, but instead reducing the unit's Weapon Skill and Ballistic skill by D3 (For both when you roll). Its better because making them shoot at low BS or letting your swarm hit them on 3s is far more useful than Pinning. Makes the Haruspex really good at killing elite infantry, what with is getting an extra attack for every wound it inflicts(new attacks do not generate new attacks). The previous version was better, but let's count our blessings maladictions where we can. The new version does have some differences to the old that are strictly advantageous- Significantly increased range, and it's now a malediction instead of a shooting attack, which means it can still be cast while the user is engaged in combat. Plus RAW it can reduce a units BS or WS to 0,meaning they cannot attack or shoot for a turn.

(5). Psychic Scream: What they gave us in place of Doom, but for everyone. Basically a watered down version of Psychic "Shriek" (See the similarities?), instead of 3d6 , you get 2d6 +2. It's a Nova power, but with a range of only 6", it's not so useful. Not as good, but hey, better than nothing, right? EDIT: This power is absolutely splendid. Think harder - being within 6" of something that can cast this meeaaannss.. Shadow in the Warp. It's technically 2d6+5, due to Shadow's -3 Ld. Psychic Scream is deadly (Shadow in the warp only effects psykers dummy) (A flying Hive Tyrant won't have a problem, but the power is still situational as SitW only effect Psykers and you can't Deep Strike units like Zoanthropes anymore, so this power won't be used often. Could be great against Grey Knights or other Tyranids though).

(6). Warp Blast: A witchfire that costs 2 charges, and you have a choice between a s5 ap3 Small Blast or s10 ap2 Lance. Both are short range (24" Blast, 18" Lance), but these powers pack a punch. Zoanthropes still know this power by default thankfully.

Melee Weapons[edit]

Not a whole lot in this section, but our close combat weapons are straight forward for what they do.

  • Scything Talons: These got nerfed with Boneswords being right behind these weapons. They no longer you let you reroll ones anymore, so they're now basically CCW. On Monsterous Creatures these are okay if you want to keep them cheap, otherwise the only use Talons will see is to grant units the extra attack since they're free. That's about it. Summary: AP 6 Chainswords.
  • Rending Claws: You know them, you love them. Now they're AP 5, good against Flak Jacket and T-shirt wearing squishes. But their main use is to wound ANYTHING on 6s and ignores armour saves. For only five rippers, you can't go wrong with these.
  • Boneswords: The other weapon that got hit by the Nerf Sword, Boneswords are now AP3 rather than AP2. They also lost the ability to force Leadership checks on 3d6, instant killing those who failed. Now it just instant kill models on an unsaved wound from 6s. Since you're using a pair, would it be hard to ask if it was on a 5+ since the LashBone combo also requires a 6? Otherwise, these are still good, and useful on Hive Tyrant, but for just five extra Devour Worms you may as well go with the LashBone combo since it outclasses Boneswords (Unless of course you're on a budget or want Rending Claws instead).
  • Lash Whips: Exclusive to Venomthropes, this grants them (And those with the LashBone) +3 Int. in the Fight sub-phase. Very useful, but has crap AP. You can't use them alone anyway on other units, and it becomes AP3 when paired with the Bonesword. The old lashwips were better since other units in combat with them could benefit from them, and they reduced ALL ENEMY MODELS IN BASE CONTACT TO INITIATIVE 1 (not +3 to your own Initiative, it made enemies Initiative 1). Hold em in place with lashwips, watch hormogaunts tear em a new asshole.
  • Lash Whip and Bonesword: Same as above, but mixing the two for AP3 attacks plus the Int. bonus and chance to instant kill on a roll of 6. Another weapon you can't go wrong. If you have the spare points, slap on Rending Claws and you won't have to worry about TEQs ever again! (Note that you have to choose one or the other, either ID or rending. Nid CCWs don't stack anymore, except to grant +1A if you have two sets of them) which is nice for CC monsters.
  • Crushing Claws: No longer grant d3 extra attacks, instead give armour bane and unwieldy and +1 strength as well as being AP2 and they're now 10pts cheaper. Now worth using on MC since they're both cheaper and MCs aren't affected by the unwieldy special rule. Slap these on Carnifexes for the worlds fastest can-opener (Strength+2D6, a return to the older days of 40K). Baneblades cannot stand up against even two 'fexes with these things. Against even AV 14 you're getting to roll for additional damage 11/13 of the time. With 4 attacks (or 5 on the charge) and a 1 in 3 chance of exploding afterwards.

Ranged Weapons[edit]

Okay, this is going to be the crazy part. The Destroyers of Worlds got a big range of Ranged Weapons (Pun not intended) in the book. To keep this organized and easy to know who can use them, each weapon will be under the selected unit(s) that are equipped with/can exchange to that weapon, and if they're worth using or not.

  • Hive Tyrant Weapons*2:
    • Twin-linked Deathspitter: Cheapest weapon, these are similar to Twin-linked Pulse Carbines, but with extra shots. Pretty decent for its points cost, although it gets overshadowed by this next weapon.
    • Twin-linked Devourer with brainleech worms: Quite a tongue twister, no? In anycase, these should be auto include for your Flyrant, because these Devourers are Elite and Horde killers as they dakka two times better than ordinary Devourers and have S6 shots. Two of these can dump 12 shots with rerolls (Plus the fact they're now BS4) and can even glance flyers to death like the StormRaven. As I've said, these are auto include, otherwise your doing it wrong!
    • Stranglethorn Cannon: Hmm, a S6 AP5 pie plate with Pinning. A walking Tyrant makes better use to these because they aren't as mobile and the weapon above gives Flyrants the best bang for their buck since they can deal more damage. But in the case for the footsloggers, this is the better choice because of its long range at 36" and cause Pinning, making the job easier for your Gaunts. Pretty decent at softening up those Marines before your other units charge in.
    • Heavy Venom Cannon: This version is a S9 AP4 cupcake. This one is meh, while these are Fire/Necron Warrior killers, and can threat Terminators, the blast isn't as good and more than likely cover negates the AP (And theres usually a lot of cover). Situational at best. (Oh, almost forgot. You can only equip one cannon per a model)
  • Tervigon Weapons*2: There ain't much to equip them with, but the Thorax Biomorphs are worth using to make em more versitile. It makes them more expensive, but if the Miasma Cannon too pricey for you, then check out the template weapons below. One of them should make your Tervigon a threat.
  • Termagant Weapons:
    • Fleshborers: The traditional compact-carbine-nest, these are basically Bolt Pistols. A good weapon to stick with although better range would have been nice.
    • Spinefists: Now that these are free, you have a choice between stronger shots or reliable hits. Either way, Spinefists are also good, it will come down to your preference and who you're facing.
    • Spike Rifle: Another freebie, except this Harpoon Launcher acts more like an Assault 1 Lasgun (IE, even worse). If you want a longer range weapon, give this one a skip because the trade off isn't worth it. Also, no bits exist, so you will need to do some conversions if you want to use this weapon. (Tip: Don't bother)
    • Devourer: A favorite by many, this thing has a good amount of dakka for the price of a Termagant, meaning you'll pay twice the price of a Gaunt. But for having longer range, granting you strong slugs (Or worms) and just outgun the rest of the options, how can you argue for its expensive cost? A fantastic choice IF you can afford them. A 30 strong brood with these things can and will slaughter any other infantry on the map if they are caught in the open in range of the entire brood.
    • Strangleweb: Huh, forgot to include this in the list. Anyway, every ten Gaunts in the unit can take this weapon for- wait, it's 5pts? Oh, its a Template weapon, okay that's fine, and they're... S2 Ap- and Pinning? Ugh, maybe it was best to not bother mentioning this crappy web shooter. Just take Devourers, or stick with your Fleshborers. The Template damage is too weak and Harpy's with Stranglethorne Cannons does a better job Pinning down entrenched units. You only have to cover two MEQs with the template to beat the wound output of a fleshborer, so for 5 pts it might not be a terrible investment.
    • Mixed Weapons: The big change and lets be honest other than point cost reductions the only important option is that you can now throw a row of othergaunts in front of your Devilgaunts.
  • Warriors/Shrikes/Prime*1 Weapons:
    • Devourer: The default weapon, it gives then the dakka they need. Good to keep overall.
    • Spinefists: Why would you give up the Devourers for these? Jokes aside, these are decent since they're AP 5. They're more useful on Shrikes since they're faster, but in most cases the Devourer outclasses Spinefists, in terms of range and damage output.
    • Deathspitter: Even more deadly than Devourers, your get +1s and AP5 for 5pts a pop. Solid choice if Devourers aren't doing it for you.
    • Barbed Strangler*1 : A S4 AP5 pie plate Not bad, but with BS3 (For Warriors and Shrikes), it would be difficult to land a hit, even more so to wound if they're MEQs or in cover. If a Prime is with them, sure it can be useful.
    • Venom Cannon*1 : Stronger with S6 AP4, but they're small blast. As mentioned above, you should save the points for something else unless the Prime is hanging out with them. (Note, like the Hive Tyrant you can take only one of these blast weapons per unit)
  • Rippers/Sky-Slashers Spinefists: You don't get these for free this time, and cost a Termagant each. In friendly games they're great, but in general don't bother as it makes them more expensive. If they were half the price, then they would be an auto take.
  • Hive Guard Weapons:
    • Impaler Cannon: Awesome. Krak Missles that Ignores Cover and don't require line of sight makes these a must have. Short range and AP4 tho, but they're still awesome. Hive Guard earned the name of premier transport hunter in the game thanks to these guns.
    • Shockcannon: Not as good because they don't Ignore Cover, even shorter at range, and you need line of sight. Being blast and Haywire makes them good at glancing all vehicles and even penetrate on 6s. If Shockcannons were free to swap (And don't require line of sight), then they would be worth considering. As it is, save the points and stick with Impaler Cannons.
  • Pyrovore Flamespurt: Basiclly a Heavy Flamer. No need to go into details since you won't be using them sadly.
  • Haruspex Grasping Tongue: If you're familier with the Bloodthirster's whip, then this is the Tyranid's version, but with Gulp! If you roll a six to hit, it counts as a presicion shot! Useful when you roll it, you can pick which TEQ you want to eat!
  • Gargoyle Fleshborers: Not much different here, but since they're jump infantry, they can get closer and get more shots in.
  • Ravener Weapons:
    • Spinefists: Cheapest out of the three, and with them being Beasts plus their mediocre BS, these are a great pairing for the two. Good to put on a couple of Raveners.
    • Devourer: Couple of points more to equip, otherwise same weapon as other units.
    • Deathspitter: What the hell?! 10pts per a model? Well they certainly are better than Devourer, but damn it's expensive. If you want a fast moving model that can use a Deathspitter, consider using them on Shrikes since they're both cheaper and generally a better unit because they're Synapse Creatures. Otherwise it's a decent choice.
  • Harpy Weapons:
    • Twin-linked Stranglethorn cannon: A single S6, AP5, Pinning Large Blast, with the added benefit of being twin-linked. This is going to increase the Harpy's role in meat-grinding infantry, which is largely it's most important role. The only time this loadout will fail to disappoint is when your opponent is fully mechanized. Which leads to the next weapon choice.
    • Twin-linked Heavy Venom cannon: This costs 5 points more that may be an up/downgrade depending on how you use it. The S9 on this weapon is going to allow you to instant-death T4 units, but first consider how many of those models you're going to hit. Most multi-wound models are typically on medium bases. Disregarding the twin-linked attribute, when spread out, (or even slightly spaced apart) you're only going to hit one or two models at best. Instead, intend to use the HVC in tandem with the speed of the FMC for taking out side armor on transports.
    • Spore Mine Cysts: Being S4 AP4 and Barrage, this makes Orks, Tau, and the like scare their infantry with the amount of damage it can deal. Cover won't save them this time! If the Harpy misses, then he drops d3 Spore Mines on the place it lands. See the unit for more details.
  • Hive Crone Weapons:
    • Drool Cannon: This mouth watering template will scare the pants off of light infantry, although it lacks Torrent (And the ability to shoot from any direction) and it doesn't ignore MEQ saves as always. Still, not bad of a weapon.
    • Tentaclids: Sweet Hive Mind, Seeking and Haywire missles? Now we have a way to deal with flyers aside our special Vector Stirke. Dark Angel players wished their Blacksword missles had these rules. The downside? One use only, and you have four, so use them wisely. Ironically, the Seeking rule makes the Hive Crone more accurate against units in the air than units on the ground.
  • Carnifex Weapons:
    • Bio-Plasma: A somewhat useless weapon upgrade. With a 12" firing range, most units Bio-Plasma is good at taking out are also amazingly good at anal-plowing Carnifexes. Now consider this, taking Bio-Plasma on a dakkafex is going to impair the ability to fire two Brainleech Devourers, something you paid to use. Taking Bio-Plasma on bare bones Carnifexes is just asking for trouble, as you'd have to deliberately get in range of dangerous units and then only be able to assault them since you shot at them. Avoid taking unless you have a hardon for acid-drooling mouths (I do).
    • Twin-linked Deathspitters: Again, this should be considered using if you're low on points, especially if you want to run three in a Brood or use one in low point games. Beyond that, this weapon lacks the awesome power this next weapon holds.
    • Twin-linked Devourers with Brainleech Worms: Geez, there's the long name again! But seriously, if you didn't equip your Carnifexes with these weapons, punch yourself in the face real hard. These are popular for the same reason as why Hive Tyrants use these, except you're still stuck with BS3. With two Brainleech Devourers, this set up only cost 150pts, so take another Carnifex if you want more Dakka! Much like the Hive Tyrant, accept no substitute.
    • Stranglethorn Cannon: Better than a Heavy Venom cannon -- situationally better than Brainleech Devourers. Consider taking if you don't want to put your Carnifexes in range of your opponents short to medium range firepower. If your looking for a mix of melee and shooting for your Carnifexes, however, taking this and Crushing Claws will cost the same as a Dakkafex. While not as awesome, it's still a good choice. Pinning can also play a role in some situations.
    • Heavy Venom Cannon: These should typically be avoided on Carnifexes. You're going to spend a lot of points on a unit that is going to be outshined by other units that perform the same role. They lack the mobility to hit anything but front armor, have BS3 SMALL blast, and can't handle air units like Brainleech Devourers can.
  • Biovore Spore Mine Launcher: Excellent cheap pie plates with Barrage on a 3 wound Brood, they excel at killing light infantry behind cover. Drop these on a unit sitting on an objective, and use their blood and body parts to make yourself some salsa when victory is yours.
  • Trygon Bio-Electric Pulse: These mind bullets are the bane to light infantrys as not only they have strong shots, but the fact the Trygon can Overwatch, which can surprise new players that weren't expecting to recieve return fire for charging in.
    • Trygon Prime Bio-Electric Pulse with Containment Spines: A beefed up version, extra range and dakka for the Prime. This puts it on par with two Twin-linked Brainleech Devourers, as AP5 can be an advantage in some cases.
  • Exocrine Bio-Plasmic Cannon: If you think the Bio-Plasma is weak sauce, then you're going to love this. The option to switch from Large Blast or Assault 6 Plasma shots makes this a must have as the versatility of this Plasma Cannon is awesome. Best of all, it lacks the Gets Hot rule, so find a place to sit to get the extra BS point, and start blasting shit!
  • Tyrannofex Weapons
    • Acid Spray: Default weapon, a delicious torrent flamer that'll obliterate GEQ and seriously hurt MEQ. Lacks the AP3 of a certain flying monster but still not a bad choice.
    • Fleshborer Hive: It's certainly intimidating, but 20 shots at bs3 of 18" bolt pistol really only is impressive on paper. Also, keep in mind the only thing this can do is kill light infantry and maybe force a ground check on a FMC, and are those really the targets your big nasty bug is gonna target? Besides, Acid Spray is guaranteed hits and ignores cover and more AP and also wounds better, soooo...pass. Gives you a decent overwatch though.
    • Rupture Cannon: Your lascannon. It's missing a good AP, but is S10 to compensate. BS3 is also compensated by Assault 2. It's really a matter of preference, beauase it's powerful but not amazing, and at 30 points you could do better. That's two twin-linked devourers for your Dakkafexes right there.
  • Thorax Biomorphs: Template weapons that're all 10pts. Only one can be taken per a model. These are your choices:
    • Desiccator Larve: A Fleshbane template with no AP value. Useful on high Toughness units and Daemons.
    • Electroshock Grubs: Pulse Rifle template plus Haywire. Probably the best against Hordes and Vehicles before charging in. If a walker charges a model with this thing the look on your opponents face will make the 10 points back straight away.
    • Sherddershard Beetles: S3 with Rending and Shred. This is your TEQ killer right here.
      • These can NOT be fired any longer in addition to other weapons, kinda takes some of their punch. Nice to throw on a model you want to have two shooting attacks without giving up an artefact/melee weapon.

(*1 = Cannot equip the weapon. *2 = May equip a Thorax Biomorph.)

There's more to come. Stay tuned /tg/


Yes, they're really called Bio-Artefacts. Really. As you might expect from the rest of the Codex, most of these are of situational use at best.

  • Maaaaaw-Claaaaaws (of Thyrax): They're Rending Claws with Assimilate, so the model using them gets to say "resistance is futile". Jokes aside it gives the bug Preferred Enemy against an entire Codex the first time it kills a model from that Codex in close combat. It sounds neat and it's fairly cheap; however, it suffers the same issue as the Dimensional Key in Chaos Marines and Porta-Rack in Dark Angels: by the time you unlock Preferred Enemy (which isn't exactly super-amazing on a single unit anyway) the game will already be mostly over. Still, if you were planning to take Rending Claws anyway, this is a decent choice. You might want to consider giving them to a Trygon Prime: while some of the bonuses are lost on a Monstrous Creature, Preferred Enemy might very well prove the difference between wiping a unit/vehicle or being stuck in another round of combat. A flying Hive Tyrant makes the best use as he can get to combat very quickly and makes him strike at S7 with Smash. It's also cheaper than Old Adversary, plus it's a CCW, so for a Close combat or a mixed Flying Hive Tyrant, you can't go wrong.
    • Alternative Opinion:Snap the Maw Claws on a Tyranid Prime in a unit of 20-30 gants/gaunts of your choice and make him your Warlord. Not only does this give the entire unit Preferred Enemy if the Prime kills a model in CC but it also means your opponent has to chew through 20-30 wounds to kill your Warlord
  • Miasma Cannon: It's an Assault 1, Poisoned (2+) shot with AP 4 and a choice of 36" Blast or Template. It's... alright, but AP 4 is a pretty big handicap against everyone that isn't 'Nids, Orks, Imperial Guard, or Tau, although you do get Ignores Cover on the Template. Still, it's 25 points, which is usually better spent elsewhere. That said, adding it to a Trygon/Trygon Prime gives it two shooting attacks when it deepstrikes.. adding it to a Tervigon gives it a ranged attack at 36".. there are applications, but they all involve consolidating your points in your MCs, it's up to you how much you want to do that.
    • Alternative Take: Equip this bad boy to a Trygon Prime, pop it up right next to those irritating scouts/eldar/guard or anything with a low armor save and flamer template them into oblivion! Anything that survives can eat the rest of the shooting from the Trygon Prime. Alternatively slap it on a Tyranid Prime, and stick him with Dakkafexes and you have a good ranged unit. It's only 5 pts more than the Venom Cannon and it's the only one the Prime can equip, so why not?
    • A Second Alternative Take: Put this on a troop tervigon have it sit on a backfield objective (with bivores and an exocrine if you like and provide synapse) if anything comes to close suddenly their being attacked and shot at by termagants for a round.
    • A Third Alternative Take: Put the Miasma Cannon on a Tyranid Prime for some fire support to compliment other long range weapons beasts, like Biovores, a Rupture Cannon T-fex, or a few warrior broods with Barbed Stranglers(who uses Venom Canons anyways?)
  • The Norn Crown: The Norn Crown isn't actually an item that you can take. If you actually take it in an army list, you will automatically be sent a letter to join the Games Workshop Design Studio, because clearly you're bad enough at determining balance that you'll fit right in! It adds 6" to the user's Synapse range. For 40 points. You know, that same thing that a Warlord Trait and the Primaris power do. Okay, so, sure, you can extend Synapse to a really far range if you combine the three (for a synapse range of 30 inches), and you might not have a choice if your army list consists of one Synapse creature and two hundred Gaunts or something. But, seriously. 40 points.Situational at absolute best.
    • Alternative Opinion: While this upgrade is laughable, remember that both the Tyranid and Trygon Prime isn't a Psyker, and the Tervigon can only cast one power. This is when the Norn Crown comes in. While it's expensive (An appropriate word I would give this Artefact), Synapse is very important in this edition. The Primes can definitely find use, either coming in via deep strike and act as a back up Synapses Creature, be able to footslog with a lot of Gaunts and can cast one of the powers from the PotHM, or stay in the backfield babysitting Biovores and Gaunts on an objective. Again, while expensive, some will still pay for it on those that needs it without wasting their power, or can't use the power, -Dominion.
  • The Ymgarl Factor: So, Ymgarl Genestealers were removed (guess they rejoined a hivefleet like they wanted), but they get a cameo of sorts in this Bio-Artefact. Each turn, a model with this Bio-Artefact gets to pick one of three upgrades (similar to Obliterators, albeit with upgrades instead of weapons), of which the most important is +1 to armour save. Now, this is pretty nice, but there are some pretty big caveats. First, you can only change it at the beginning of the Assault phase. Second, you must change each turn. Finally, it's 40 points. A permanent +1 to armour save might have been worth it, but you're going to have to switch every other turn even after you do get into combat so it's not exactly consistent and with its effectiveness only extending to the assault phase it's only worth it on a fast monster you don't want to get rocket sniped to death as it crosses the board in one or two turns. (These boosts only last for the Assault phase and not the turn)
  • Reaper of Obliterax: The Reaper tries (and mostly fails) to be a bonesword & lashwhip + 1, which is to say it's a bonesword/lashwhip combo that also has a +1 S bonus and Shred. For 25 points more than a normal Lash Whip and Bonesword, though only 15 points more than a Lashbone and Toxin Sacs, if you don't mind wounding T8 a little less often. Excepting of course the fact that you can put it on a Trygon Prime. A Mother Fucking Multi Armed Sword Wielding Snake Monster. Model one up with tits and you can run Shiva all over the place eating everything. The basic here is that the Lashbone is only available to a few units and the artifact makes it available to a few more albeit at higher points. If you want a Tervigon to actually be threatening in close combat, you can add this to it too, making it swing at initiative 5 so it's actually a problem for power sword-wielding Marines. Also worth mentioning that re-rolling wounds makes getting that 6 for ID even more likely, which could come up if you didn't take toxin sacs or the re-roll from toxin sacs doesn't apply.


  • Acid Blood: For every unsaved wound the bug takes the enemy unit makes an Initiative test and suffers an S5 AP2 hit for every failed one. Better than Ichor Blood(CSM), worse than Burning Blood(Daemons). Can be hilarious when that one surviving terminator who just killed your monster gets melted by his own attack and you still get the kill point.
  • Adrenal Glands: Fleet and Furious Charge, cheaper for units that already have Fleet. Except Trygons.
  • Regeneration: It Will Not Die on a 4+. This is amazing on monsters, especially Carnifex broods and the Flyrant who can Share around wounds using a Prime to gain time/are really hard to shoot down anyways.
  • Toxic Miasma: All enemies in the entire assault take a S3 AP- Poisoned (4+) hit at initiative step 1. One use only.
  • Toxin Sacs: Poisoned (4+) for melee. Decent on Gaunts although expensive
  • Spine Banks: Count-as assault grenades, same profile as a thrown frag grenade too except the entire brood can fire them off.
  • Flesh Hooks: Your other source of pseudo-assault grenades; 6" S user and Assault 2. No longer Rending.
  • Wings: Slap these on a Tyrant and start up your own Flying Circus.

Tail Biomorphs none of these benefit from any other biomorphs or blessings. WYSIWYG. Does it benefit from unit type rules? E.g. Carnifex monstrous creature smash effect to ignore armor in close combat? No, this is specifically ruled against. Also does not benefit from adrenal glands or toxin sacs.

  • Mace Tail: S8 AP- and Unwieldy. Amusingly you can ignore the Unwieldy part since the only units that can take it are MCs, and it's the unwieldy rule itself that allows MCs to ignore it, and not any property or rule of monstrous creatures themselves.
  • Prehensile Pincer: S6 AP5. (Red Terror is stuck with this.) (Which is great, since it has a better S and AP than the Red Terror does with the rest of its attacks) (yeah but this doesn't count toward the swallow whole attack)
  • Thresher Scythe: S4 AP4 Rending.
  • Toxinspike: S1 AP6 Poisoned (2+).

Unit Analysis[edit]

6th edition for Tyranids, a couple of points that apply to the changes of the race overall.

  • Psychic Powers: Unfortunately Tyranids at present cannot swap or exchange psychic powers for any powers within the psychic disciplines. They may only use Powers of the Hive Mind. Yes, no more Main Rule Book psychic disciplines. This is an ENORMOUS nerf as it means the Tyranids no longer have any source of Eternal Warrior, making MC-heavy lists especially vulnerable to any source of the Instant Death rule (Distort weapons, force weapons, etc)
    • EDIT: Stay tuned for 7th edition, because although you don't have book powers you can spam so many psykers that the opponent can't do squat with theirs. If you can't have disciplines, NO ONE WILL.
  • Poison: New rules for poison let you use your strength if it's better, while gaining a reroll on the wound if your S equals or exceeds the T of the defender. Monstrous creatures can get Toxin Sacs for mere pennies and the upgrade is now highly recommended for them.
  • No deep-striking Carnifexes or just about any of your other MCs now that Mycetic Spores are out of the game.
  • New Instinctive Behavior rules. Each Behavior has one of 3 results- roll a d6 to determine which one, with the first being 1-3, the second being 4-5, and the third only occurring on a 6. Given that the first (and most common one) is always the worst, keep your best units in synapse range- nothing could be more humiliating than having two members of a Carnifex brood eat each other because they moved too far away from their synapse creature.
    • Lurk: 1-3 Fall Back / 4-5 Can shoot only when in cover / 6 Can shoot only when in cover, gains Stealth
    • Hunt: 1-3 Go to Ground / 4-5 Shoot closest unit / 6 Shoot closest enemy unit, gains Preferred Enemy
    • Feed: 1-3 Inflicts hits on themselves / 4-5 Charge closest enemy unit / 6 Charge closest enemy unit, gains Rage
      • Single model units ignore Feed 1-3 results, instead acting as if they rolled a 4 or 5.
      • Fearless models ignore Hunt 1-3 results, instead acting as if they rolled a 4 or 5.
  • A pair of melee biomorphs is now considered to be only 1 CCW, in a bit of initially-awkward streamlining. The intended equivalence is "my Space Marine has only one Chainsword" -> "my Tyranid has only one Pair of Talons". The end result of this streamlining: a lower number of attacks all around - for some units that exchange talons for guns. Hive Tyrants, Tyranid Primes, Warriors, Shrikes, Genestealers, and Broodlords have the same number of attacks on their profile as they did in the last codex, but can now take two sets of melee weapons for a net increase in attacks (no scything rerolls though. Still more attacks.) Hint: Give your broodlord an extra attack for 4 pts.

HQ Units[edit]

  • Hive Tyrant: Now with BS 4. The Hive Tyrant is often regarded as the "leader" of the Hive because they are gigantic monsters with synapse power. Synapse keeps all the little monsters from running around out of your control, therefore the Hive Tyrant is the boss. Unfortunately, Hive Tyrants are very expensive in the 6th edition, clocking in at 1.65x the cost of any no-name Space Marine HQ base but lacking invulnerable saves or the ability to join any squads (Tyrant Guard are a special case, Hive Tyrants are never Independent Characters and cannot leave a unit of Tyrant Guard once they join it) and tend to get focus-fired to death when on their own. Their upgrades are also pretty expensive, but they sport a good range of versatility that can make or break the Tyrant on the battlefield such as wings or toxin sacs. Hive Commander and Old Adversary are worthy upgrades, HC gives a friendly unit Outflank, while OA is Prefered Enemy (Everything!) in close combat only now. And it's no longer an AoE upgrade. However, Tyrants can now take multiples of those. Indescribable Horror is okay, but many armies either ignores Fear or have high Ld. If you consider taking one of these without either wings or tyrant guard in a game bigger than 500 punch yourself in the face hard.
    • Winged Tyrants: now count as FMC and can soar above the battlefield raining down death or landing into assaults. A note on the new glancing rules for vehicles; it's quite easy to get to the softer side and rear arcs on most vehicles with the tyrant's newfound mobility, and 12 Twin-Linked Strength 6 shots average 5.333 [Whoo hoo BS4] hull points on AV10 and 3.556 hull points on AV11. Splendid! In 6th edition, wings make the Tyrant MUCH more survivable. Tyrant can no longer get a 2+ armor save so tyrant guard are a must as everything with the word power in it will shank him. Since Nids lack effective anti-air, Wings are the only real option now that they can no longer use Armored Shell. It bears noting that Flyrants are much cheaper, and with slightly more viable FA FMCs the possibility of saturated flying circus gets scary especially with double chart [not that anyone does that]. They also get two powers translating to a 1:3 chance of getting Warp lance. Flying Tyrnats with the Ymgarl factor are actually a viable choice since they can now ignore air defence batteries for the one turn that they need to destroy them.
    • Walking Tyrant: If you do choose to footslog (and there's a reason it's called foot slogging), there are a few misleading loadouts to recognize. Heavy Venom Cannons are a waste of the Tyrant's potential. People consider combining the Stranglethorn with the Miasma Cannon for anti-infantry. Don't do this. It is expensive at 40 points. The Miasma cannon is only a SMALL blast, and if you want to get in range to be using its template mode, then you might as well be using the Devourers with Brainleech Worms. Speaking of Devourers, don't take these. If you're using short ranged guns, you might as well be taking Wings for a few reasons. While you're in combat, you're wasting the points you spent on Devourers while simultaneously inhibiting the Tyrant's full combat potential. While you're outside of combat, your expensive Tyrant Guard remain only as extra wounds instead of close combat beasts. Equip your Tyrants for what they'll be best at -- close combat. Give him Old Adversary and call it a day. If you're playing against high initiative armies, give him a Lash Whip and Bonesword.
    • Another Opinion: A Hive Tyrant without Wings is more reliable in getting to close combat. The reason why you should give him a Stranglethorn Cannon is to give him a ranged weapon so he can shoot at the enemy back, plus Pinning helps your swarm a lot. A recommended loadout is to give him, as previously mentioned, the Lash Whip and Bonesword with either the Stranglethorn or the Miasma Cannon. The latter is much better, as for only five points more than the Venom Cannon, it has poisoned (2+), and it can be converted into a template, which also wounds on a 2+. Although it can't do much against vehicles, it's versatility makes up for that. To be more precise why you should give him a cannon of your choice, it makes him versatile and he haves enough attacks to go against other Monsterous Creatures and Walkers. If you just want he to rip and tear infantry and the likes, the winged Hive Tyrant is a better choice overall.
    • Tyrant Guard: They're S5, T6 with 2 wounds, 3+ armor, Rending Claws and Scything Talons. If you're planning on footslogging the Swarmlord across the board, Tyrant Guard are your means to get them there. They're really handy, but would 3 wounds and/or a 2+ armor save be too much to ask for? They are stated to be pound for pound the most well armoured tyranids, for fucks sake the Hive Mind decided not to give them eyes so the enemy couldn't shoot those and they stole space marine fused ribs and black carapace! Still, Tyrant Guards can automatically take Look Out, Sir wounds from the Hive Tyrant and Swarmlord without rolling, so you can now place them in the back and troll your opponent with 5th edition wound allocation! Additionally, they can now take lashwhip/bonesword or Crushing Claws, which will give them S6, ap2, armourbane, and unwieldy. It's an interesting use for Tyrant guards, but conditional.
  • Tervigon: Tervigons were the bread and butter of the Tyranid codex, but now they've taken the brunt of the nerfing. While they are listed as an HQ choice, they should always be taken as troops because there's a reason why no other codex can have scoring Pyker Monstrous Creatures (hint: it's cheesy). Of course, there's a catch to this- you need to have 30 Gaunts in your army for each Tervigon you want to field as a Troops choice, and the Gaunts can't move or assault on the turn they spawn. On top of the 35 point increase for the Tervigon itself, that means that the cost of using a single Tervigon as a Troops choice has gone up by 105 points! Tervigons are really simple to use too as besides just keeping them on objectives, all you have to worry about is when to spawn and when you know her time is up. If you care at all about the Tervigon's ability to actually fight in close combat, feel free to throw Maw-claws of Thyrax on it for 10pts. 15 pts is okay for Crushing Claws, but at the same time the Tervi's Initiative is 2 whether you take Claws or not. Still, 15pts isn't awful for the considerable anti armour power (not that MCs in general need any help against armor in assault. Consider taking the Reaper instead, it pushes the Tervi up to initiative 5). Also, keep in mind that Brood Progenitor no longer gives Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Glands to entire broods of Termagaunts, but Counter Attack instead, and the buff is now a 12" bubble. Downside is counter attack requires a leadership test and with gaunts being LD 6 [finally perhaps the "explanation" for the Tyranid Prime's ungodly points increase] or so, it's unreliable. That said, any termagaunts spawned from the Tervigon will be codex gaunts. There's no way to give them other upgrades and the newly spawned gaunts won't be able to move or assault on the turn they're spawned, making them easy targets for anything with access to pie plates. On top of that, if the enemy is smart enough to aim for the Tervigon with a high strength, AP3 or better weapon and actually pops her, all those gaunts are going to get faceraped harder than ever before now that the psychic backlash radius is doubled (so weigh the cost/benefits of taking Regeneration on her, it tends to be helpful, most armies are unlikely to kill the entire monster in one turn giving her a chance to heal quite a lot). They're still worth fielding as Tervigons still help out the army, but you can't run an army of them anymore as it'll be very expensive (Plus they can't be Warlords anymore since they're missing the Character profile), so it's best to use them as buffers for your Gaunts and non-synapse units (With the Primaris blessing). Alternatively rules as written; you can now spawn (after the move) on a turn you outflank the mama-bug with the Tyrant's Hive Commander ability. tl;dr - Take Tervigon as Troops, spawn Termagants, move them to a different Synapse Creature before they get Backlashed, profit.
  • Tyranid Prime: Last edition the Prime was a middleweight boxer fighting in a lightweight division. Now he clocks in at 125 points. His only upgrade, aside from the Wargear table, is Flesh Hooks. In addition you can take anything from the Bio-Artifacts, basic bio-weapons, and melee bio-weapons. However, once all is said and done, the only upgrades you want to look at are Boneswords, Lash Whips, and the Norn Crown. The upgrades are pretty explanatory; ignore everything else because they're either too expensive or ill-suited for the unit. The most important aspect to discuss is its special rules. Synapse Creature, Shadow in the Warp, and Independent Character. These rules constitute for the exaggerated price of the HQ. Putting the Prime in a unit will make it the only implacable Synapse unit in the codex. This allows the Prime for Look Out, Sir exploits too. Place it in front of Gaunts to allocate wounds to the models just behind him. Put it in a Carnifex brood to distribute wounds evenly (honestly this will be useful for any multi-wound, multi-model unit -- i.e. a lot of the Tyranid Codex). Overall, an expensive support HQ that will earn its points back if you utilize its full potential.
  • Malanthrope

It should be noted the a ridiculous amount of 'rules' exist for this unit on the web, some of which state it's an 85pt elite infantry choice that can come in broods of 1-3...

(ForgeWorld) with the new rules, the malanthrope went from nasty in close combat to barely average an Apocalypse unit to a solid support style HQ choice. 110 pts, they can be taken in broods of 1-3. S5 T5 with 4W and I5, toxin sacs, toxic miasma, fleet, move through cover, 3+ save, synapse and regeneration all included. It also has a unique rule that whenever it kills a unit, all nids in synapse range get preferred enemy that unit type (ex. infantry, MC, jump infantry, etc). A good choice that is starting to look better and better. A must have if you want a cheap HQ choice. Use it in a hormaguant/gargoyle heavy army to kill something quickly and start turning the swarm of generally killing creatures into a unholy wave of destruction. And they aren't on the Lord of War listings, and just because they're in Imperial Armour Apocalypse doesn't make them Apocalypse only. The unit entry is 40k stamped as HQ unit, so if you own it, go for it.

Special Characters[edit]

  • The Swarmlord: The ancient unstoppable Swarmlord is a model begging to be a part of a "Deathstar" unit. Reason being that the Swarmlord is massive, devastatingly powerful, unreasonably expensive (in fact it got a price increase in the codex, but a minor one at 5pts), possesses a high demand for resources during the game, and has laughably stupid weaknesses for all it took to get the damn thing. The Swarmlord basically reads like a simple flow chart; is he in assault? if no: get into assault, if yes: win assault. Its most glaring weakness is hitting it with six Krak missiles or any equivalent will statistically put it down without a fight since every missile wounds on a 2+ and ignores the damn thing's armor save. However, the Swarmlord is a Psyker (Mastery Level 3) and has several special abilities that buff either himself or nearby units in varying ways. It also gets an invulnerable save in close combat and has a ridiculously high WS. If it is in close combat, it will seriously skullfuck whatever it's fighting. It also gets to add 1 to all its reserve rolls and can give its unit or a friendly unit within 18" Furious Charge, Monster Hunter, or Preferred Enemy till end of turn. But with only an invulnerable save in close combat, the ability to roll for a Warlord Trait, or Eternal Warrior, it's nowhere even close to being the death machine it used to be. Also, they took away his ability to force enemies in close combat to reroll their invulnerable saves, so even in assault he's not the rape train he used to be. Still able to gimp almost anything tho.
  • Deathleaper: Inexplicably made into an HQ unit, Deathleaper is point-per point the most fragile unit in the codex, partially to compensate for the relative difficulty one can have in killing him. All shooting at him is reduced to a Snap Shot, so non-melee armies will have trouble with him (except Tau with their Markerlights), and it makes him immune to blasts and flamers. Unfortunately, the special rules have very situational usage. One allows the Tyranid player to pick an enemy model and lower its leadership by D3, which is useful for negating bonuses from abilities like Rites of Battle (or psykers and all). Deathleaper tends to get used mostly in a Reserve Army for his Pheromone Trail (precision Deepstriking Mawlocs, heh heh heh...), acting as a buffer in anticipation of the Hive Tyrant/Swarmlord being shot. From there, he might act as a minor assassin unit. Although he's not for many armies, his utility can come into play. One special rule got added to him and the Lictors: Infiltrate. Not sure if this is a good thing or a so-so thing. Time will tell. He has hit and run, character, a lot of attacks and high ws which might be useful for assalting, challenging murdering at I7 and running. Backed up with some genestealers especially with a broodlord against armies vulnerable against pinning

EDIT: the Deathleaper IS NOT an Indipendent Character, so you can't join other units.

  • Old One Eye: OOE is one of the most tragic models in the codex, and now even more so since it takes up an HQ slot better used for just about anything else. The model is very expensive at a shade over 200 points. The price tag is equivalent to a Land Raider, but OOE is only as tough and as durable as a normal Carnifex. It has the 4+ Regeneration ability at all times, which is rolled separately from IWND if you can find a way to give it to him. And if you make this guy your warlord, (which you won't because you're warlord is the one with the highest LD and his is the lowest of any HQ unit and you can only take one of him) he gets Feel No Pain the turn after'' he gets shot at. Although, if he does survive that he becomes very very hard to kill. His ability to let friendly units within his 12" bubble to use his Ld 8 for Leadership tests could help in a pinch, but don't rely on it, unless you don't bring any Synapse creatures. It can also roll one additional attack for every original attack that hits, but it can't roll new attacks generated from new attacks. He becomes even worse in the new codex, now that curshing claws no longer grant D3 additional attacks, and the berserk rampage discounts hits caused by his nifty new D3 HoW hits; on top of that the +1 strength and ap 2 are redundant thanks to his already being an S 10 monsterous creature. Unfortunately it does not out perform a normal Carnifex with crushing claws by much, and it is out performed by Trygons for less cost. In Apocalypse games he becomes more or less pointless.
  • Thanks to Deathleaper and Old One Eye being HQ choices now, you can field an entire army completely devoid of Synapse Creatures. While strongly not recommended, we suggest you play this list at least once for comedy value in a casual game for the lulz.


The first thing one notices about Tyranid Elites is that you actually have options and possible upgrades for a number of the choices. Tyranids have a lot of Elite options, but many players generally opt for Hive Guard or Zoanthropes as their one stop purchase for reliable ranged anti-vehicle firepower, something not as easily found in the rest of the codex. In the transition from 5E to 6E mech lists took a hit in that glancing hits on vehicles would have off 1 of maybe 2-3 hull points. As a result Tyranids gained a lot of ability to tear mech lists apart with other units and thus Elites are more free form.

  • Hive Guard: Hive Guard are the premier Tyranid armor hunters. For five points more than a Land Speeder, you're getting model with two wounds, T6, and a 4+ save armed with the bastard offspring of a Krak Missile and a Storm Bolter. Firing two BS 3, Strength 8 shots a turn, a unit of three, or even two, of these guys will bust open transports, light skimmers, or even heavier armor should they be able to flank-it (or just glance often enough). Like everything else in the Tyranid codex, it maintains full fire-efficiency on the move. The only drawback is 24" is a relatively short range for popping light transports. For some unfathomable reason its gun only has AP4, making it useless against single-wound MEQs (which may have been to stop it from being an MEQ killer, remember GW luvs Space Marines). However, the Hive Guard does not need line of sight to hit a target, and it does not give a fuck about any intervening cover. Also the gun's special rule allows it to ignore cover saves from night fighting as well as anything attempting to benefit from the new jink rule and anything that popped smoke the turn before. Even with a slight nerf they are still an auto-take. And now they come in a box where you can make 3 of them from they have become even more attractive.
    • Hive Guards now have a new gun called the shockcannon. Check out the Ranged Weapon section for more details.
  • Lictors: Oh boy, where do we start from here? Lictors are now cheaper, and they still keep their stats and weapons. However, they got a lot of Special Rules to help them and the army out. They don't scatter from Deep Strike, and what's interesting is any units that comes into play via Deep Strike doesn't scatter within 6' of the Lictors. Just think of it, Mawlocs that don't scatter now have a better chance in gobbling up a unit camping on an objective! Fear is meh, but Hit and Run and Stealth is always handy. They can't assault from Deep Strike or Infiltrate, but have some tricks to compensate if you can protect them. Their close combat ability is limited by only 2 attacks, but rending and S6 make them mildly effective against HQ's... but for that matter, why aren't you taking deathleaper? Overall Lictors are better than previous editions. They are, incidentally, one of the three Tyranid models with Frag Grenades. Best used as a very good distraction/homing beacon.
  • Pyrovores: Back in fifth edition, Pyrovores were almost-universally viewed as the most pointless, useless, and confusingly detrimental unit in the entire Tyranids Codex. How about now? Well, it's gotten better, but then it's would've been hard to go anywhere but up with this model. It received a 5 point price reduction and a buffs to a few stats (an extra Wound there, a little more Initiative there), which is... better? But then it still doesn't seem to serve a purpose in the army, especially given you can still take Hive Guard, and Venomthropes are a lot better now. There's also some RAW wording-loophole shenanigans about its Volatile rule; basically, it says that every unit on the board takes hits equal to all non-Pyrovore models within D6 inches of a Pyrovore hit by Instant Death, but most players would be smart enough that you wouldn't get away with it. Also, the biomorphs it has (Acid Blood and Acid Maw) were pretty much nerfed but not too badly, the latter being reduced to a single AP2 attack instead of all of the critter's attacks ignoring armor. The only good thing is that it seems that it benefits from the Promethium pipeline in Stronghold Assault, so... there's that? Honestly, it's still one of (if not the) worst units in the game. But hey, now you can take packs of them!!! :D :|.
    • Alternate Take: a brood of 3 dropped in a pod behind enemy lines is a veritable wall of death and can only do good things; 1) they get shot off the board - less shots at other things 2) they get charged, can overwatch and will then likely die in spectacular fashion (and to be honest they are arguably better when they die anyway) 3) opponent says, "meh...Pyrovores...how bad can they be?" and ignores them (unlikely but moron's do exist). Really any way you look at it, 3 in a pod is a win-win all round
  • Venomthropes: Venomthropes are a solid choice in 6th edition. All models units within 6" of them get Shrouded. They're fantastic support units for protecting against gunlines, and they also confer a save to monstrous creatures in a Nidzilla style army, like the Trygon or Tyrannofex or even a Heirophant. Units with stealth, such as Lictors, can take a 4+ cover save from being near Venomthropes increasing the screening potential of Rippers if they need to advance across open ground. If night fighting is in play, anything near a Venomthrope is nearly unkillable with the cover saves they will receive. Venomthropes also have a 2+ poison and the toxic miasma biomorph (once per game an enemy unit suffers a number of hits equal to the number of models from their unit in base to base with the Venomthrope. The hits have the poison as well and ignores cover USR) but they don't really belong in close combat... but they aren't pushovers any more either. I6 from lash whips and 2+ poison are pretty good. Don't have them charge alone: use them as finishers instead. Since Venomthropes give Shrouded they can be used to boost the cover save provided by units, meaning that a big blob of gaunts can provide a 3+ cover save to a unit of Venomthropes and whatever else you can stick behind the gaunts and in the Shrouded bubble. A possible way of getting footslogging tyrants, warriors and MCs across the board without getting utterly obliterated. Doesn't work when the enemy has Ignores Cover of course. Like all of those flamers out there that absolutely facerape gaunts to begin with.
An Alternate Take: Something to consider in addition to Venomthropes in your army is the Aegis Defense Line. If you line one up straight across middle of the board, you can give everything behind it a better cover save of 4+, besides Trygons, and barring the oddly angled shot on an MC. It is also cheaper, can't die, doesn't take up a valuable Elites slot, and can sometimes block LoS completely. It works both ways, but that usually isn't a problem since most of our AP values are too low to hurt MEQ's anyway. It's a toss-up between the utility of the Venomthropes' defensive grenades versus the cost and reliability of the ADL's cover save. Pro Tip: Take both! Venomthropes giving shrouded to Exocrines, Tyrannofexes, Hive Guard and the like for a 2+ save! Crones when they glide or fly on near a Venomthope will get 5+ cover out in the open as well, 3+ if they choose to dive (not a bad idea due to their main damage being their vector strike). The Venomthrope is going to be the lynchpin in a lot of lists.
  • Zoanthropes: This WAS another unit that any player would be a fool not to consider investing in. Now, they have some trouble with synergy. They are still arguably some of the best anti-armor units in the game, using a S10 AP2 LANCE attack to punch through any heavy armor on the field. They also have a S5, AP3, blast template to throw at Space Marines that get too comfortable with their good saves. A brood of them can lay down touhou esque barrages of firepower with FUCKING MIND BULLETS. Three full broods of them can lay down an truly epic amount of mental dakka that will fuck up the shit of everything and anything in front of them. The only drawback to Zoanthropes is that their attacks are psychic, and that their lance attack is short range, only 18". Also, guess what you can't take anymore? Pods are gone, along with all access to core rulebook psychic powers, so they have trouble getting into Lance range. What did they get in exchange? Brotherhood of Psykers (Mastery Level 2) and a special version of Warp Blast where they can make multiple shots in each Psychic test as long as they have multiple models in the brood. Plus, these are your cheap and reliable source for Synapse Creatures, and they can extend their range from Dominion. Unlike Warriors they aren't easily instant killed, and for how much they cost per a model, that's nothing to sneeze at. They're not exactly bad now, but the loss of Mycetic Spores really hurt them more than any other single unit. However, thanks to the rewording of the Trygon's tunneling rules, these suckas can come out and raep those bastards hiding in the back (provided the Trygon puts the tunnel in a spot where they can hit something when they come out). Now your opponent will definitely be focusing them down, but boy can they eat up fire like candy, leaving the rest of your horde unfucked for that turn.
The Brotherhood of Psykers actually helps these guys out a lot. Remember having a brood of 3, and when you finally got within lance range, you took THREE psychic tests, and your opponent took THREE deny the witch rolls before you even got to roll for hits and pens? Not anymore! One psychic test and one deny the witch for all 3 shots! (Wouldn't one DtW for each lance be better than 1 DtW to deny all three?) fewer perils of the warp! And that one time when the tank does deny your 3 S 10 AP2 shots, throw your dust collecting useless genestealers into his eyes! Remember, all enemy units can use Deny the Witch, even tanks, as they count as an enemy unit. The drivers within use the power of vehicle love to extend their force of will to the hull of their tanks.
  • Haruspex: This hentai monster wannabe is a designated infantry-killer, with a rape-tongue of S6 AP2 (Assault 1, Precision Shots on a To Hit of 6, 12" range), A3, and 5 wounds. While unimpressive on paper, each hit it successfully lands unsaved wound it causes gives it an extra attack in that combat (extra attacks do not generate extra attacks) and it can restore one wound a turn if it successfully lands an unsaved wound on an enemy. Combined with Regen, it manages to out-DISTRACTION CARNIFEX the Carnifex. Coincidence? I think not. Now if only Tyranids could still deep-strike... But weighing in at $80 a pop for 3A at WS3, then considering missed wounds, you're not doing much better than other options, and some may not really be able to justify the absurd price tag for an altogether mediocre unit. The 'Gulp!' tongue just smacks of uninspired. The GW website promises he'll gobble up units, but that's not really likely.
It's good to remember that with the addition of the Haruspex, Nids now have Monstrous Creatures available in every single force organization slot.


Troops are where you are going to get your swarm on, everything except warriors and rippers can be fielded in absolutely MASSIVE numbers (and even then they just sacrifice quantity for quality). The upgrades for your troops can really have an impact on how they fight but while the upgrade cost is small the bulk order of them can run you a lot of points, almost doubling the point costs of some choices. Everything works best when you keep them within a synapse from something like a Tyrant or Warriors, with Rippers it is absolutely mandatory. Tyranid troops are basically the reason other races have weapons with crap AP values, you will lose them in droves, and yet STILL have enough to bury your enemy in bodies.

Oh, and as for the update, this is where a large number of buffs came in: Gaunts are one point cheaper, and they run d6 + 3 in the shooting phase. Make the most of it.

  • Genestealers: Genestealers are very solid units. They have a 5+ save, which is easily punctured by any Space Marine worth a damn, but their combat ability makes up for that. They can easily shred plenty of enemy units (up to and including Baneblades if you can get to their rear armor) in close combat thanks to rending, high initiative, great weapon skill, and an acceptable number of attacks (Thanks to two pairs of claws, they get another attack :D). However, despite all this, they aren't really the core player of the army. They come with infiltration built in, so their best use is often to keep the enemy bottled up. A squad or two of flanking Genestealers will cause most players to give pause to spreading out to the edges of the board. Additionally, you can also upgrade one genestealer to a broodlord, which is essentially a 3 wound, ws7, s/t5 nightmare with The Horror psyker power. Give the Broodlord adrenal glands and it can pop landraiders. All things considered you can't say many bad things about Genestealers. Thankfully, they can be fielded in pretty large numbers, not quite as massive as that of Gaunts, but enough to pretty much swamp anything in front of them. Almost nothing in the game short of AV 14 armor survives more than one turn when faced with a full genestealer brood with a broodlord.
    • Definately give the broodlord +1A for 4 points. Just do it.
    • Another update! Rending claws are S user AP5 rending. It's only a slight change but helps when putting genestealers against weaker enemies (guardsmen, eldar, etc.)
    • Genestealers will kill anything they touch (well...maybe not Wyches with a Pain Token, but no one uses them anymore). They are, after all, probably the greatest assault unit in the game. Any opponent that knows this will stay FAR away from them. This makes genestealers a major psychological tool in addition to what some would say is the greatest unit in the codex.
    • tl;dr - Take Genestealers+Broodlord vs armies that don't have a lot of units immune to Pinning. Infiltrate them as close as possible to the enemy's gunlines and The Horror them repeatedly. You won't be able to assault them the turn you Infiltrate, but you can assault the next turn.
  • Hormagaunts: Hormagaunts, due to being cheap and having cheap access to poison, are among the most devastating and effective attackers in the Tyranid army The entire game. Per point spent, they deal more damage, survive more wounds, and can even run across the board faster than anything else that can compete with them. Their only major drawback is a stark lack of frag grenades. However, keep them from fighting with inopportune targets and get them Feel No Pain from a Tervigon any psyker with Catalyst, and these little bugs will really tear it up on the battlefield. They can also equip adrenal glands to glance tanks and transports to death on the charge. Plus, you can field them in absolutely massive broods, rivaling full sized guard platoons in sheer size. Now get +2 attacks on the charge when outside Synapse with less charging at the nearest enemy when you start to Feed.
    • Update time! Now only +2 attacks on the charge on a roll of 6 outside of synapse, otherwise enjoy your [number of models] S3 hits 50% of the time! (yes, they hit themselves). They run faster, which is basically the whole point of hormies in 6th. A late game objective grabber. Being a bolt pistol cheaper they are better at this, and remember grounded nids don't take Instinctive Behavior.
    • Fun House Rule: let Tervigons spawn these guys and let the madness ensue
  • Rippers: Tyranids have numerous traditional weaknesses, one being blast templates. Rippers, being swarms, take double damage from blast templates. Having a toughness of three, they are morbidly weak to Instant Death as well. Their weapon skill is low, their saves are 6+, they can't hold or contest objectives, and they die if they fall out of synapse they die less than 5E if they fall out of synapse and roll 1-3 (which they will). To say they at least aren't an actively inhibiting part of any army would be a stretch. And with the Parasite of Mortrex removed along with a points increase for no apparent reason, there's basically no reason at all to use them any longer.
  • However, Rippers can now purchase deep strike for pennies. Of course, this hardly redeems them, but if you really want to have some, it does make them usuable as a halfway decent distraction unit than can simply go to ground every turn for immunity to Instinctive Behavior and +1 to cover. As swarms auto-pass dangerous terrain, there's no stopping you from deepstriking into cover. 6ed Swarms are not slowed by difficult terrain but must test for dangerous terrain as normal.
  • Termagants: Termagants are pretty much nothing (base) compared to hormagaunts and genestealers. Their guns are short to mid range, their ballistic skill is average, they fight as well as Guardsmen in close combat and their saves are worse. In fact, they cost one less point than Guardsman, and since Termagants can't ride transports there isn't much that can be done with them. However, for every brood of 30 Termagants you have, one Tervigon can be purchased as a troop choice, and Termagants receive counter-attack from being next to a Tervigon. Therefore, despite their mediocre-at-best statline, they are arguably the most competitive Troops choices on the tabletops of sixth edition when paired with the Tervigon. Like Hormagaunts, they can be fielded in numbers so large the gameboard will look like an unending sea of bugs. Give them devourers though, pay a pretty penny for a hive tyrant with Hive Commander and have them Outflank on a side of the board and they can certainly dish out alot of dakka! If you want Preferred Enemy, you must bring the Swarmlord to grant them that special rule. THIS combo is slaughter incarnate to infantry.
    • Something to keep in mind is Termagants can now Mix and Match weapons. Due to the wording, any model can replace their weapon with a different one, rather than a unit. Want some good dakka but don't want to pay through the nose for having 30 Devourers? Just take at least half and let the other half keep their Flesh Borers! This means you can also experiment with Spinefists and Spike Rifles now that they're free.
  • Warriors: Warriors are also a solid unit, but they have one problem: Instant Death. They have a 4+ save, three wounds, and a toughness of four, so against small arms fire they're as tough as Terminators. However, hit their squad with a Battle Cannon and they all evaporate, and autocannons will rip them into very small pieces. They have access to weapons that ignore armor saves, have decent guns, have good weapon skill, and overall have some pretty reasonable options. It's just not a good idea to make an entire army composed of Warriors since small numbers and being no-brainer targets will hurt them. Cover can be their friend in 6th and with Primes leading them, at least Str8 won't be such a problem. The question is, though, do you wanna risk your Prime?
    • And we should probably mention that Boneswords are AP3 now. Don't bother pairing them together, take one with a Lash Whip and give them Rending Claws so they won't be limited to MEQs.
    • If you do use Warriors, take a unit of three, equip one with a Cannon of your choice, include a pair of Rending Claws on two other Warriors, and have them sit on an objective at your deployment zone. They make a decent unit that can shoot Blast weapons while still be able to hold on their own if someone trys to assault them.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Gargoyles: Gaunts with wings, effectively. They are, in quite nearly every way, just Termagants with wings. They have the same stats and the same weapons. However, aside from the 12" movement there are two differences: they can exchange all of their attacks and instead make a single poisoned attack with the Blind special rule. Another thing is that Gargoyles are Jump Infantry and essentially receive a free bonus hit at I10 on the charge if they use their "jump pack" for the charge instead of for their movement. This does allow you to re-roll your charge range, though. Throw in poison and Gargoyles become some savage monstrous creature hunters (great for fucking over other Tyranid armies and Chaos Daemons). Taking HoW into consideration, Gargoyles are incredibly cost efficient models. If you give them both upgrades, you're paying 10 points for: 12 + 2d6 charge, 1 S3 I4 hit, 2 S4 I4 Poisoned attacks, and a S4 AP5 assault weapon shot. Point for point, superior to even Storm Boyz. Sadly, they aren't too fantastic against much besides infantry; if they can't kill or cripple what they charged in the first round there's not much hope for the unit coming out alive... So while it doesn't hurt to have them around, they also don't always help. Like all Jump Infantry, they do have Deep Strike, the trick is getting them into Synapse before they start lapsing into Instinctive Behavior: Hunt and uselessly shooting Fleshborers instead of assaulting like they should.
  • Harpies: Harpies are one of the most heavily affected models in the Tyranid list and in their case it was a positive change over. Flying monstrous creatures are not just cool, but until more AA weapons find themselves into the game, they are also very hard to kill (warning: Quadguns will rape FMCs in general, and any army can take an Aegis line except nids - on top of that, all of the new 6th edition armies with the possible exception of Dark Angels have their own Flyers which will raperaperape a Harpy. See Vendetta/Hellturkey/Stormtalon). Harpies don't come especially cheap, running a tab not unlike a Tervigon, and are not quite as tough when you actually get a hit on them. However for that price you end up with a pretty heavy gunship, the stock primary gun is a Twin-linked S6 pinning large blast OR for a small cost, a Twin-linked S9 small blast. Tack on another choice between Cluster or Stinger salvo (I recommend cluster as the harpy doesn't have great BS) and you can threaten big chunks of troops at once. After that the Harpy can drop a cluster of Spore mines on an enemy it passes over once per turn and finally vector strikes that can be used against light vehicles (including fliers) or just whoever you happen to be running over. All this leads to a very harassy flier with enough pie for everyone. Keep them in the back during deployment though, as they start in Gliding mode and thus can be instagibbed by Str10 Large Blasts, which are mostly short-ranged. Make it a point to stay out of range or LOS of a Quadgun until they can at least Jink. Their extreme mobility and range will get them where they need to be no problem once they're in the air. Once most sources of AA have been dealt with, fly it over a blob of infantry and drop a spore mine + vector strike for maximum lulz.
  • Hive Crone:With 4 S5 Haywire missiles that rerolls to hit against fliers, combined with an INSANE S8 Vector strike, expect to see between 1-3 of these guys in every tournament. They're fragile, but with 5 wounds and no fliers or Skyfire guns with S10 to instant kill them, they're here to dominate the sky! Or fail their grounded test and get eaten alive. Don't forget, they can start the game ON THE TABLE! Once the enemy air support is gone, time to vector strike tanks and blast infantry. Is your opponent arguing that he has a cover save against your vector strikes? Well, there's no range on vector strike (Its a melee hit, come on), there's no cover saves! (You can keep the flamer, or trade it in for Cluster Spines or stinger salvo). But that 4+ armor save is certainly going to be a problem against...well, nearly everything. Fly them on near some Venomthropes for some shrouded goodness. 3+ cover out in the open? Awesome.
The Harpy and the Crone are made with the same kit. The kit is $80 ($115 'Strayahbucks). One of the few units (the Harpy) that wasn't nerfed in the Tyranid's codex is also one of the most expensive Nid kits to buy; One of GW's many strategies to squeeze extra cash from their customers.
  • Raveners: Raveners are very similar to Warriors, but they're faster, have higher initiative, have more attacks, and are more fragile. Ultimately they're ok. They aren't as good at fighting as a swarm of Hormagaunts, aren't as tough as Warriors, and get expensive when equipped with ranged weapons, but their Fleet move, 12" movement, and complete immunity to non-mysterious terrain give them a niche to fill. Ideally, they're harassers, designed to make unexpected long range assaults into exposed heavy weapons teams or infantry who think they're safely controlling an objective. The main thing to worry about with them is Instant Death and getting caught in the open. Their 5+ saves mean they won't get armor against the most typical foes, and if you can't clean up that Space Marine with a hidden Power Fist in one round then you'll have some very dead Raveners on your hands - see link for Tyranid warrior health issues.
    • The Red Terror: For 85-points you may add the Red Terror to one of your Ravener broods (one use per army), which has better stats, access to prehensile pincers, and the Swallow Whole ability (hitting a unit with 4 attacks automatically removes a model, and ignores armor and cover saves). If you're going to use them, you may as well splurge on it. Something that is often overlooked is that the Red Terror also provides a Leadership of 8 instead of the Raveners' usual 6, which gives them greater autonomy from your Synapse Creatures. The most important aspect about The Red Terror though is that it is a Character and can thus allocate wounds to your Raveners. This is therefore going to make a Ravener brood much more resilient. He ignores instant death from missile launchers (T5), has a 4+ save that can reduce the typical damage from AP5 weaponry, and can (statistically with 6 attacks on the charge) swallow whole a hidden powerfist.
  • Shrikes: Winged warriors which cost just as much as the normal warriors but have a weaker armor save, made up for with a much greater mobility. Equip them with any combination of your favorite melee weapons and get these guys into an assault ASAP, get kills, and then onto the next squad before you can shake a ripper at them. They still suffer from anything that can instant death them and although they can now take the Prime, there isn't much point as the Prime can't fly. ACTUALLY! The Prime can now take wings as a biomorph option making him move as quickly as the Shrikes also giving him is tasty BS of 4. *wings are not listed on the 'biomorph' table that the Tyranid Prime can take upgrades from, the 'Wings' biomorph is only an option on Hive Tyrants* If you can manage hopping them from cover to cover running, they won't disappoint you. Overall, a strong contender for a Fast Attack slot on your army. Now the same cost as regular warriors and/or raveners.
  • Sky-Slashers: Rippers with cute little wings. Not much better than the grounded version, but now with the added weakness of taking dangerous terrain checks if they use their jump move while in terrain! They can, however, use their jump move to assault, which gives them a free I10 hit, in addition to their other attacks for a metric fuck ton of paper cuts on the charge. If they take Adrenal glands, they can glance AV10 rear armor vehicles to death on the charge, with a 12+2d6" threat range. Otherwise, see Rippers, described above.
  • Spore Mines: With the new codex, these guys move 3" in the movement phase, can run and assault normally (But halves their roll), and will explode in close combat at intiative step 10, with a large blast S4, AP 4, however, you only get to place one large blast. For each additional Spore mine beyond the exploding one, add +1S to the blast (to a maximum of S10, only allowed 6 mines in a cluster. GW maths at it's finest) and remove them all afterwards. This means that they can be a good distraction for relatively little cost, able to really scare tanks and light infantry with high strength blasts. They also don't count as kill points, so if you have the spare points, these are a great point sink.

Heavy Support[edit]

This organization chart is easily the best in the codex. Pretty much everything is either decent (Mawlocs and Trygons) or solid overall (Exocrine and Biovores), so feel free to drop a lot of spare points here as this slot is the most competitive out of the others. That being said, you have a bunch of choices that wants to be in your army, so this really depends on what you brought from the other charts. Running broods of Termagants with a Tervigon? Carnifexes help bridge the gap of close combat. Using a bunch of Hormagaunts and Gargoyles? A Trygon Prime gives them the Synapse support, while Biovores and a Tyrannofex lay down the anti-infantry shots. Tyranid's Heavy Support is an all around versatile chart, so no matter what list you play, you should always consider investing here.

  • Biovores: A unit to be respected by any footslogger with an armor save of 4+ or worse, Biovores are "mobile" artillery beasts that deliver spore mines directly to the enemy. The mines, when they hit, each create a S4, AP 4, large blast, and when they don't hit D3 Spore Mines will actually land on the field and remain present until they are shot or wandered into. It's not exactly what one would think of as "heavy" support, but it is probably among the best ranged anti-infantry support in the codex. Plus with the slight buff (Mostly unnecessary, except the extra wound) and point decrease, Biovores just went from being a good choice, to a solid choice. The buff to Spore Mines sweetens the deal, and they don't count as kill points if they don't hit and get shot at the next turn. The only problem is, one has to ask if more anti-infantry is really what one seeks when such is the strength of almost every other unit in the codex. In Apocalypse games, where long ranged ability becomes crucial due to the much larger average board size, they become far more viable as a way to deal with infantry blobs from a distance, they can be fielded in much larger numbers to swamp the battlefield in pieplates and spore mines.
  • Carnifex: Carnifexes start off at 120 point but can get very expensive once you start buying upgrades for them. They have three attacks base at Str9 and start with 2 pairs of CC weapons (two pairs of talons), but their WS is pretty average. They can hold their own against basic squads by themselves, but one hidden power fist will ruin their day in a heartbeat (or lack thereof). Even against a five man Space Marine Tac Squad, a lone Carnifex lacks the attacks and accuracy to clean up its enemies before it gets walloped, and a Krak missile or two to soften the beast up will guarantee its death. However, there is one important thing to consider: nothing dismantles tanks in close combat as well as a Carnifex. There are other options the new vehicle cracking power of many of the other Tyranid units but the Carnifex still holds the prize. Also hilariously the second unit in the codex with access to frag grenade equivalents. Toxin Sacs on the Carnifex gives you a rerolls to Wound for pennies. With 2 Twin-Linked Devourers, they become surprisingly powerful at destroying flyers (rerolling to hit), MEQs and TEQs (forcing saves), GEQ ICs (instant death), and even light to medium vehicles (volume of fire) at range. For only 150 points, with the option to be taken in larger broods, this setup rarely disappoints. Speaking of large broods, Carnifex large broods are a major point sink but are massively powerful, especially when they take the 4+ regeneration and are joined by a Prime for look of boss scenarios. All in all, Carnifexes have certainly seen some buffs in 6th edition, with the new Monstrous Creature cover rules, the changes to vehicles, and Hammer of Wrath and its points drop. Still sucks statswise when compared to a Daemon Prince. But they cost 120 points, so they're getting a fair trade off. Carnifex specific Hammer of Wrath gets d3 hits instead of just one; at strength 9, this is HUGE. Base Screamer-Killers (dual scything talons) will be able to lay out loads of pain. Crushing Claws are now really good for them for only 15 points and the 4+ regeneration is AMAZING. To sum up, a really good vehicle dismantler while being decently hard to kill, the options of being in large broods and other options for fire support.
  • Mawloc: Effectively a weaker, less accurate Trygon with the ability to cause damage to enemy squads as it enters play. When it Deep Strikes on an enemy unit, *EVERY* model underneath it takes a S6 AP 2 hit, vehicles being hit on the side; considering the large base size of the Mawloc, one can potentially hit a lot of models; and as an added bonus it ignores cover too. (And if it somehow doesn't clear the area, it inflicts ANOTHER S6 AP2 hit). It's not outright unusable -- the two S6 AP2 pie plates part is still true -- but vehicles are only hit on side armor, and the survivors are NOT pushed out of the way anymore. This means that if you fail to kill EVERYTHING under the template, the Mawloc mishaps! (though this can be a good thing, because you have a 50% chance to go into ongoing reserves and just nom again the next turn) Hive Mind help you if you scatter onto a Leman Russ. It can still Burrow after a successful Deep Strike. To lessen the sting a bit, it's 30 points cheaper. Still works with lictors only better now that lictors infiltrate. Pro Tip the Mawloc base is smaller than the template, so you dont need to clear everything just almost all of it.
  • Trygon: The Trygon is a former Apocalypse heavyweight which has been scaled down for standard 40k games and is the smallest of the bio-titans and the only bio-titan to lack biocannons. An expensive model to be sure, it is still considered one of the highlights of the Tyranid codex. Like most other Tyranid Monstrous Creatures, the 6 Toughness 6 wounds (Formerly Toughness 7 5 wounds back in it's days of being a forge world exclusive, the toughness was probably decreased so that it wouldn't be COMPLETELY immune to S3 weapons like lasguns anymore while it was given another wound to compensate) allow it to take hits like a champ, its raw statline and Fleet, makes him a melee powerhouse. As Scything Talons got nerfed hard, they no longer are quite the bringers of death they were before. However, as toxin sacs can be bought for less than a gaunt, they can rather easily regain their rerolling death, even if it is for wounds rather than hits. It also has a respectably powerful shooting attack. As a final note, the Trygon itself does not have the option for a Mycetic Spore(but that's gone now), but Deep Strikes with the same Scatter-reduction rules built into its cost; you should always use this rule as it gets the Trygon into combat very quick. Can also leave a hole for 1 infantry unit per turn to arrive from after it emerges (Pro Tip, combine this with the Haruspex or a Carnifex Brood)(However Zoanthropes are fair game, or a big blob of devourer armed Termagants)
  • Trygon Prime: We've come across one of the units that didn't change much from the update (Other than being 10 pts cheaper and have access to the Bio-Artefacts), but remains a viable choice nonetheless. The fact that it can Deep Strike and provide Synapse makes him suited for a fast moving list and being a back up Synapse creature in case something bad happened to your other Synapse creatures. You really have to take advantage of the Deep Strike rule to get your points worth, otherwise it will be a waste and be outclassed by a walking Hive Tyrant with Tyrant Guards. The fact you can equip Artefacts like the Reaper of Obliterax is enticing, although again, just taking it to use the weapon and nothing more will not only be a point sink, but will attract guns to shoot at it. However if you play to the Prime's strength and use his rules, then he's worth taking. Upgrades are't needed, although Toxin Sacs and Regeneration are great, albeit the latter is expensive, which you need to keep it cheap unless you're playing a game where you have plenty of points to spend. Toss in a Toxinspike tail if you know you'll be facing high toughness monsters, otherwise keep him bare as he can still tear units apart and haves enough wounds to see him through the mid game and beyond. Given that he costs 40 pts extra than a regular Trygon, while still keeping most of the same stats that makes him good and provide Synapse, you won't be disappointed in the Prime if you use his rules to your advantage.
  • Exocrine: Another new model with a big gun that's Assault 6, Str 7, AP2 shots. Or it can drop a big blast that's also S7 AP2. Park its butt for a round, and it's +1 BS (As an extra thought, give this adrenaline glands and have someone cast onslaught on it, it can stay stationary in the movement phase, then run a re-rollable D6 then shoot at BS 4). It's stats are slightly weaker than base monster stats but it can still hold its own in a fight. Too bad the range isn't all that good, so make sure it has a few meat-shields protecting it.
  • Tyrannofex: A primarily ranged Bio-titan; This unit is of hotly debated usefulness. Scorned by some, and cherished as an unassailable bastion of destruction by others, they are ultimately models that lack a unified purpose. Costing five more points than a Keeper of Secrets, T-Fexes have six wounds, a toughness of six, and a 2+ save, meaning they are all but invulnerable to regular infantry. Their standard build is bristling with anti-infantry weaponry, sporting two flamer templates and a short range large blast, but most people don't feel they particularly need more anti-infantry support from such an expensive unit. What the Tyranids do need is anti-armor, and that is something the Tyrannofex provides, but at considerable cost and with remedial reliability. Fans of the T-Fex insist it is a perfect tool because it draws fire away from your more important units without flinching, while opponents detract that the T-Fex's weakness is being ignored. The model is so costly that one must sacrifice whole broods of other units to field one, so it doesn't always hurt the enemy to just not shoot at the T-Fex. The reason why their use is debated at all is because T-Fexes are the Tyranid codex's only long range anti-armor units, providing a S10, Assault 2 firearm that can reach across the board, letting you crack open Land Raiders from a long distance. Ultimately they are slow, fill a niche by desperation rather than proficiency, and should not be used in games with point limits below 1,500. If titans, superheavy tanks, gargantuan creatures, and stompas are appearing on the board (such as in a game of apocalypse) T-fexes find themselves overshadowed due to the sheer number of biocannon (all of them being S10 AP3 Heavy 3-9 weapons) equipped units that will become available to the tyranids. But they do provide a nice backup to the gargantuan bio-titans. A good use for them in apocalypse is to clear away super-heavy units that would otherwise tie down your Bio-titans or threaten your army while leaving your Apocalypse Bio-titans free to focus on other things. Additionally, they make for excellent Titan finishers. Essentially, treat them as more expendable shadow sword equivalents. For some incomprehensible reason, both the Acid Spray and Rupture cannon are only AP4, making them useless against MEQs, seriously, it's chances of penetrating a land raider's armour is *identical* to it's chances of getting by a marine's armour save, what the fuck? Alternatively, a Tyrannofex can be used as a linebreaker unit, since most power weapons are ap3 now.
    • Alternate use - As said previously, the secondary weapons are created primarily for anti-infantry. Therefore, make the tyrannofex a complete infantry hunter (Your elite slots should be your anti-vehicle. They do a much better job). In the new edition thorax swarms now count as weapons in their own right, meaning they count towards your total number of shots per turn, so gone are the days of the triple-template Tyrannofex. However, thorax swarms no longer have to be taken, and electroshock grub now have the haywire rule, giving the Tyrannofex some close range anti armour power and a surprisingly good overwatch weapon against charging Dreadnoughts. With a 2+ armor save, T6 and W6, deploy as a line-breaker (which will also qualify this beast to be your DISTRACTION CARNIFEX) and force your opponent to choose between unloading ALL his firepower to kill it, or retreating his units out of cover, which could work well for your other units. And don't forget that it's STILL an MC, so don't be afraid to smash any vehicles unfortunate enough to get within charge range. Give this creature regeneration and it'll survive the whole game.
  • Stone Crusher Carnifex (Forge World): your basic fex with 2+ armor, -1A, no talons, AP1 crushing claws and it will not die USR. It's basically the ideal DISTRACTION CARNIFEX. It's absurdly cheap in point cost (but not in real money - this is forge world after all), until you realize that there is no mycetic spore option. Its a realy bad idea to footslog a Carnifex all over the board - not even 2+ and IWND can save him from being shot to death. Stick him behind a mob of gaunts until he gets to the enemy.

Apocalypse Units[edit]

  • Hierodule Though it looks like a gigantic gaunt, it's really more like a carnifex on angry, angry steroids; this Bio-titan eats tanks for breakfast and is roughly the Tyranid equivalent of a baseline Stompa or a Warhound class scout titan. It comes in two versions, the melee only version which has four FUCKHUEG scything talons that can carve up vehicles and superheavies in close combat, and has a FUCKHUEG flamer. The ranged version has two FUCKHUEG scything talons and two biocannons (this particular version of the biocannon is S10 AP3 Heavy 6) which means that you can spit out six twin linked S10 AP3 hits per turn, now despite "only" having AP3, the sheer number of high strength shots will quite regularly defeat AV 14, so you can pop open land raiders and monoliths (the only two units with AV 14 all around), kill baneblades and battle fortresses from the front (though it's still recommended that you go for their side or rear armor, because you should always try to take the most favorable option possible attack their weak point for massive damage), take out titans and stompas (Void shields and power fields only have an AV of 12 and collapse if struck with either a glancing or penetrating hit, though only one layer of shielding will be destroyed by a single hit; as for a titan's armor, it's generally identical to a baneblade's, not even a warlord has AV 14 on it's sides or rear), Brass scorpions, and Gargantuan creatures. Overall, a solid choice. In addition, all biotitans can tank shock, but this is generally most useful for the melee Hierodule, as it lets it just plow through a whole army of infantry models to get at the superheavy sitting at the back with a smug smile on it's face. Hilariously, Lysander can beat even the melee version of this in CC, for 1/3 of the points, but that tends to apply to most storm-shielded models up against Tyranids.
  • Hierophant Coming in at a thousand points, the Hierophant is the priciest Tyranid unit in regular scale (or more accurately, not-epic) 40k and is easily one of the priciest units period. But it makes up for that by having two extremely long ranged s10 ap3 (yes, a shot from this is more likely to kill Land Raider than it is a terminator, go figure) heavy 6 biocannons, gargantuan creature rules, a metric fuckton of claws, lash-whips, warp-fields, and some of the highest armor saves, toughness, wounds, and strength stats you have ever seen. You thought the four uber-daemons were tough? You haven't seen shit, compared to this beastie those four are nothing. There is not a single non-apocalypse unit in any codex that this thing wouldn't eat for breakfast. No matter what range it fights at, it will fuck something's shit up. Mr.space marine with a hidden power fist doesn't have shit on this guy. It is however, an colossal firemagnet, even if he is nigh on impossible to kill. With regeneration, he is pretty much the ultimate damage sponge, the few things that do hurt him will simply be rolled away. The psychic power 'Warp Field' gives it a 6++. Where it really shines is close combat against other super heavies where it will RIP AND TEAR with wild abandon. Beware taking it against Dark Eldar, massed Poisoned shooting will fuck it's shit right up.
  • Harridan the Tyranids' flyer, [it's only lord of war in the escalation book] it is for all intents and purposes, a fucking flying Hierodule (with the best of both versions) it has the exact same bio-cannons as a Hierodule (S10 Ap3 Heavy 6) but as a flyer, most things can't hit it, and it can pop open tanks with it's bio-cannons or its claws and is one of the only Tyranid units that can deal with enemy flyers (some people debate that it can actually assault a flyer, tearing it's shit up, and now with sixth edition, it most certainly can!). It can carry One Gargoyle brood, but mainly you want this for the bio-cannons mounted on a extremely difficult to hit platform, though a trio of Harridans shitting out twelve full sized broods of Gargoyles right on top of someone is a hilarious way to drown someone in flyers. Due to its immensely powerful guns, only superheavy fliers have any chance of surviving being shot at by the bio-cannons and even then they're going to take a severe beating to their 1d3 structure points. With its gargoyle broods, it can fulfill three out of four major roles for fliers excellently, air superiority, ground attack, and bombing. Strangely for a Tyranid unit, it's very elite compared to other fliers, very powerful, but also expensive, so the enemy's fliers will probably outnumber your harridans. Escort them with flyrants and harpies, laugh at your enemies feeble attempts at stopping these terrors from tearing them a new asshole. And if you stand still, you can shoot your bio-cannons TWICE, twelve S10 twin linked shots are going to fuck over anything it comes across. Really the only other fliers that can challenge the Harridan is the strength d wielding tiger shark or the Manta. Pray you never have to fight a manta, with it's 4++, 10SP, 96 S6 shots, 11 TL S7 AP3 shots, 2 Heavy Railguns and shitload of missiles.

Note that copious amounts of Poisoned weapons are the bane of bio-titans (note that the FAQ says that super heavy creatures are only poisoned on a 6 rather a 4 or less, so it's not that bad), so armies like the Dark Eldar who typically spontaneously explode in apocalypse games are actually a legitimate threat to your units. Be wary of this, and unless you are confident that your smaller units are the real punch of your army, and not the bio-titans, be prepared to sacrifice other Tyranid units to keep your Bio-titans safe from poison.

Dataslate Formations[edit]

  • Lictor Forest Brood: This Formation consists of 5 Lictors (which act as if they were a single unit), and allows them to switch the Stealth rule for the Shrouded rule. In addition, they can be deployed as close as 6" to an enemy unit if they use Infiltrate to deploy into a forest. Situational, but could be useful on the right map. (Just to remind you pheromones 6 mawloc lulz)
  • Manufactorum Genestealers: This Formation consists of 5 Genestealer Broods (which may not include additional Genestealers). If they Infiltrate to deploy into a Building or Ruins, they can deploy up to 6" of an enemy unit. It's not much, but it helps them get into close quarters more safely than usual.
  • Deathleaper's Assassin Brood: This formation consists of Deathleaper and 5 Lictors; any unit within 12" of any model in the formation gets a -1 penalty to Leadership, and also benefits from Preferred Enemy (Characters and Independent Characters), making it useful for hunting down and killing any special snowflake units (especially since it synergizes with its Mind Eater trait quite nicely). If nothing else, it gives Deathleaper a few meat-shields it can hide behind.
  • Broodlord's Hunting Pack: This formation consists of 3 Genestealer Broods (one of which must contain a Broodlord, and only one Broodlord can be taken). If they arrive from Reserves, they can set up in any unoccupied Building or a Ruin (although they have to be more than 6" away from enemy units in the latter case). In addition, they gain Preferred Enemy towards a unit of your choice when they deploy.
  • Gargoyle Bio-Bombs: This formation consists of 3 Spore Mine Clusters and 3 Gargoyle Broods. If a Spore Mine Cluster in the formation starts a move (including Run or Charge) within 6" of a Gargoyle from the Formation, it can move 6" in the movement phase and will not halve the distance rolled if it runs or charges. Perfect for getting your mines into position quickly.
  • Endless Swarm: 3 broods of Hormagaunts, 3 broods of Termagants, and one brood of Tyranid Warriors. Each time one of the Gaunt broods is destroyed, roll a D6; on a 4+, it goes back into ongoing reserves, with the original number of models, weapons, and upgrades it had when you started. If that one gets destroyed, you can try to put it back into reserves as many times as you can pass the roll. It seems good- right until you read the part where it says the opponent still gets victory points from destroying the units that make up the formation even after they come back. Ask yourself a question: do you REALLY want to feed your opponent an endless stream of victory points? The answer is yes, because in the other 5 missions you may have an unending stream of objective holders and if you've lost that many 30 gaunt units in killpoints, you've already lost anyway.
  • Incubator Node: 3 broods of Termagants join a Tervigon and only give the big guy the ability to re-roll ones to spawn more gaunts. It's essentially a free set of troops since there's no limit as to how big the gaunt broods can be, and this can definitely free up troop slots for some Warriors. BUT there is a [insert math here] bigger chance of rolling a double be wary of this
  • Synaptic Swarm: Tyranid Prime joins three broods of Warriors and they all get an 18" synapse range. This isn't going to make any of them good by a long shot, but it'll definitely give you some free synapse if you're using up your troop slots for gaunts and Tervigons.
  • Skyblight Swarm: A Flyrant, a Crone, 2 Harpies and 3 Gargoyle broods enter a bar...and then the Flying Circus begins! All these FMC's give the Gargoyles the ability to take objective points even if an enemy unit is within range of the same objective. (Unless the enemy can do the same thing too). Also, like the Endless Swarm Formation, if a brood of Gargoyles get killed, they go back to ongoing reserves with the exact same loadout as before on a 4+. Ask again: Do you REALLY want to fork over infinite victory points? The answer again is yes, because do you really care as long as there's a 5/6 chance of playing an objective game anyway?
  • Living Artillery Node: An Exocrine joins 3 Biovores and a Warrior Brood with a Venom Cannon or a Barbed Strangler. This gives everyone Pinning on their shooting and the ability to re-roll the scatter die when firing a Blast or Barrage weapon. AWESOME - re-rolling the scatter on Blast/Barrage is once again - AWESOME
  • Bioblast Node: A Tyrannofex joins 3 Carnifex broods, each with a monstrous biocannon, and a Warrior brood with a biocannon. For this, the entire formation gets Split Fire and anyone within the 12" of the Warriors can reroll 1s to Wound in shooting. Pretty decent for the Warriors to get some protection, but they're still sitting ducks.
  • Wrecker Node: The same formation as above, minus the Tyrannofex and the mandatory dakka (In fact, you can't take any biocannons at all). The Wariors still let anyone within 12" of them to reroll 1s to wound, but this time in assault. Also, the Fexes now inflict D3+1 HoW hits. Largely less useful because of the Warriors' weakness to things harder than a stiff breeze.
  • Tyrant Node: A walking Tyrant takes a brood of 3 Tyrant Guards and a Venomthrope Brood. This formation gives the big bug +6" of Synapse. It's basically a free Dominion, and the chance to take more non-FOC Venomthropes is a choice hard to pass up. However, the mandatory walking Tyrant makes things a bit hard, being the slow bastard he is. Can the tyrant be the swarmlord? - no :( But you can make the Tyrant into a "Templant" with the Miasma Cannon and Shreddershard Beetles which makes it a devastating (and quite hard to kill) unit on the charge
  • Subterranean Swarm: A Trygon Prime joins a normal Trygon, a Mawloc, and three Ravener broods. The whole formation gets rolled as a group for reserves and once the Prime's location is found, everything can deep strike within 1" of the Prime. The Raveners can't move or assault, but they can still shoot and run. The main issue with this formation is the price, as this is a lot of dosh to spend on a deepstriking force. Main draw of this formation - I can't think of a single army that would be able to wipe out a Trygon Prime and (at least) 9 Raveners the turn after they arrive from reserves as well as focus on what may be charging across the board. Yes the price is high but even if it does not come in until turn 3 or 4 you can still do some serious late game damage.
  • Living Tide: A Tyrant Node, a Synaptic Swarm, 3 Endless Swarms, a Wrecker Node and a Skyblight Swarm, all in one formation with a bonus 6" for the Tyrant Node, free Fear for everyone, and a re-roll for the Endless and Skyblight Swarms when their gaunts/gargoyles die so they can return to reserves. This shit's practically an army in and of itself! If you're even able to field such a monstrosity in an Apocalypse game, rest assured that shit will be FUCKED. Just like your wallet.

Here's what you need:

  • A Flyrant
  • A Tyrant
  • 1 full Tyrant guard brood
  • A Tyranid prime
  • A Venomthrope brood
  • 7 Warrior broods
  • 9 Termagant broods
  • 9 Hourmaguants broods
  • A Crone
  • 2 Harpies
  • 3 Gargoyle broods
  • 3 Carnifex broods

That is 244 models as a bare minimum for 1 formation. I repeat or a max of 714 models but th- ho- HHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhnnnnnnngggggg-

Building Your Army[edit]

The new tyranid swarm is a great start with 10 Gargoyles; 40 Hormagaunts; 40 Termagants and 1 Carnifex (ignore the rippers since there is no parasite of motrex now) Get a hive tyrant/swarmlord and pick either the wings or some tyrant guard. Next get a tervigon, push 30 termaguants into one unit and keep the rest for spawning. You now have a good 750-1000pt army. Get some elites! They're not the best slot now but every army needs SOME, venomthropes zoanthropes and hive guard AND PYROVORES!!!! are all good and neatly fill 3 elite slots. Allowing for 150 points of upgrades this is about 1350 points.

The central power of Tyranids this edition is in swarms of units. Among the best performers for the army are Hormagaunts and the swarm-producing Tervigon, but Termagants armed with Devourers (termed Devilgaunts by many in the community) aren't half bad either with a bit of cover. Thanks to Warriors being troops, it is possible to build an army with an elite focus as well, but the Tyranids don't take to such list building strategies as well as certain other armies do. This is mainly because hidden powerfists will put an end to Warriors in an eyeblink, preventing them from making safe assaults into any Space Marine unit toting one.

Unfortunately, armies with a great deal of attention to monstrous creatures will often find themselves fragile and horrifically outnumbered. A bit of number crunching reveals that, per point spent, a carnifex is not all that much more durable than a bunch of hormagaunts in cover, meaning that small arms are no less effective against them and heavy weapons are an unnecessary Achilles heel. Some of the newer monstrous creatures with six wounds, such as the Trygon, keep it together better but just can't do everything the army needs thanks to their high cost and few numbers. The Nidzilla list is still pretty effective, but it takes careful planning.

  • General List Building - On some part, Tyranids have very few options to choose from once they have selected the models they wish to use. For example, Hormagaunts have only two biomorph options: adrenal glands and toxin sacs, and the same is more or less the case for Termagants, Gargoyles, and several others (plus or minus one or two weapons and biomorphs). The strong point of the army is not in mutable units or myriad alterable roles this edition. Hence, the following is a list of the three most common biomorphs and their most prominent uses:
    • Adrenal Glands - This biomorph grants Furious Charge and Fleet to the model it is equipped to. Its foremost use is increasing strength to better damage vehicles, but it also proves helpful for getting the first strike in melees new edition Furious Charge only boosts strength, though Genestealers and Hormagaunts will still usually go first against most targets; while marginally less useful against infantry than Toxin Sacs, when the two are used alongside each other, basic Tyranid infantry become among the deadliest anti-infantry in the game (for a price, that is: it is often better to choose one biomorph or the other). Unfortunately, in several cases, adrenal glands got a noticable price increase.
    • Toxin Sacs - Toxin Sacs cause the model's close combat attacks to be inflicted with a 4+ Poison, which is quite potent against enemy infantry and monstrous creatures (I'm looking at you T 10 great unclean one). They are offered to all Tyranid monstrous creatures and change them from a 2+ wounding to a 2+ with a re-roll. However, they have the tendency to be very useful on infantry units, such as Hormagaunts, and when taken on a Tervigon the 4+ poison bonus is granted to all Termagants within 6" of the beast. nope.
    • Regeneration - Typically expensive, this biomorph allows a model to roll one die for each wound it has currently sustained at the start of your movement phase, separately from any It Will Not Die it may have. On a 4+, a wound is recovered up to the model's maximum. Though available to Carnifexes, Hive Tyrants, and Harpies, it is a choice that is most useful to six-wound models like Trygons or Tervigons. When placed on a Tyrannofex, the model becomes pointless to shoot at; after all the work it takes to wound one, it's completely demoralizing to watch it just recover the damage. However, it is usually quite costly to be putting on any model without crucial importance to the army as a whole. It is rather cheap on Tyranid Primes, though, and not so bad on Harpies, either.
  • Harpies - Harpies are flying Monstrous Creatures. At first glance, they're expensive and fragile since Strength 10 weapons can instant-kill them, and they only have a 4+ save. To make the Harpy worth the investment, a Tyranid player must provide it with cover and provide enough immediate threats to make targeting the Harpy itself a less demanding proposition.
    • Role: The Harpy shoots, providing ranged support to the Tyranid army. Armed with its choice of Stinger Salvo or Cluster Spines and Stranglethorn Cannon or Heavy Venom Cannon, it can be tailored against infantry or modest tank suppression, typically preventing enemy armor from firing by scoring stunned and shaken results and slowly chipping away at HP. Although they are not geared for close-combat, Harpies can provide secondary melee support if desired on account of having a special rule that reduces the initiative on the enemy unit by 5 when it charges. Although this secondary role is more situational (Tyranid models as a rule have some of the highest initiative-values in the game), against similarly high-initiative enemies like Eldar Harlequins, the results can be meaningful if properly pulled off.
    • Purchasing Harpies: At lower-point levels, the Harpy isn't needed since the Elite anti-tank options are generally sufficient for dealing with enemy armor; at higher point-levels, more durable anti-tank firepower can be had in the Heavy Support slots. What Harpies do is allow Tyranids a degree of flexibility, allowing them to more freely choose alternative slots in the Heavy Support or Elite slots.
    • Pro tip: Harpies + Gargoyles = reducing most units to WS 1 before they get to strike.
  • Hive Guard and Zoanthropes - The two foremost solutions to armored vehicles in the Tyranid codex, these models must appear in every Tyranid list that expects to encounter tanks or armored transports - and let's face it, tanks and armored transports are in almost every serious army list out there in 6th edition. One is better for busting transports while the other handles heavy armor as if it were blasting retarded, wingless goslings with a twelve gauge shotgun; one shooting phase, one kill tends to be the normal for a full unit of either model. Hive Guard and Zoanthropes are completely in their own league as far as anti-armor power is concerned, outclassing everything else in the codex by embarrassing miles (well... along with a carnifex with crushing claws). Zoanthropes do have some trouble dealing with Psychic Hoods, but that aside, it is usually wise to figure how many points are going to be spent on Hive Guard and Zoanthropes before adding any more units to the list.
  • Tervigons and Termagants - The two models really must be addressed together when list building because one is as good as useless without the other in most cases. The Tervigon, which can spawn 3D6 Termagants at the end of each movement phase until it rolls doubles. All Termagaunts within 12" of the Tervigon always have Counter-attack as a half assed synergy. LD 6 makes using this rule a complete crap-shoot, getting it less than half the time you want it. The drawback is that, should the Tervigon die, nearby gaunts can take damage, but thanks to six wounds, a toughness of six, and a relatively non-threatening profile, Tervigons don't go down all that commonly if youre playing against someone who has never faced tyranids. Anyone competent in this game knows what these guys do and will make this their, at lowest, 3rd priority. Hide him well. Tervigons can, with luck, receive a psychic ability to give itself and an entire unit Feel No Pain, so in short summation, one Tervigon turns a unit of sniveling, weakling Termagants into a unit of half-decent meat shields. Furthermore, whenever Termagants are purchased, a Tervigon can be included as a Troops selection, so there's honestly very little reason to ever take one without the other. But it must be a full 30 man squad.
    • Role: Both models are Troops first, meaning they are best used to jealously hold objectives. A Tervigon can often be difficult to shake from a position it takes up, especially if it can find cover somehow, and as long as the Tervigon can continue to pump Termagants out onto the battlefield, there's never a shortage of bodies to claim ground. Unfortunately, neither unit boasts much overt power in general. Tervigons have a shooting attack, but it's mild due to modest ballistic skill, and the same is true of Termagants. Also, despite potential boost from counter-attack, Termagants are still not really all that great at fighting. They can lash out opportunistically, but the buff merely make them meh, considering your enemy must hit them for this 'buff' to activate. And returns diminish sharply in turns following a charge.
    • Equipping Gaunts: Gaunts may have numerous potential weapons: fleshborers and devourers. Spinefists, the third mainstay in the cold, are not more efficient at shooting than fleshborers, but they are still a free switch. One in every ten Termagants can also take a S2 flamer, but the cost of the gun is twice the base worth of a Termagant, so no luck there. Then there are also spike rifles, which are just spinefists with longer range, no AP, no twin-linking (still a free choice). Some may consider spinefists over fleshborers, as they perform the same against MEQ and marginally better against GEQ, although their drop in strength renders the gaunts useless against t5 and av10. The spikerifle does have a longer range, but that quality is harder to measure when it comes to gameplay. In all, it is likely that all three basic weapons are about as good as the others. In contrast, devourers boast Assault 3, S4, and an 18" range, all of which can be very potent at an expense of high fragility per point to the equipped models. Lastly, fleshborers are a cheap option that keeps Termagants expendable while still allowing them to pack a bit of punch against the rear armor of transports.
  • Trygons
    • Role: (The following calculations assume the purchase of Adrenal Glands; an upgrade which is highly recommended) It has lost killing abililty, since Furious Charge doesn't boost initiative now, but can still fuck shit up in CC. The Trygon is now king among Nids at busting vehicles: on the charge with 6 attacks as S7, and with Smash has 4 attacks on the charge Smash only makes one attack now Q~Q, but attacks at strength 10, re-rolls armor penetration rolls, and adds +1 on the vehicle damage chart. Those Monoliths won't know what hit them. Be it for a Tyranid Reserve army, or a horde, the Trygon acts as a linebreaker for the rest of the army. If you're up against infantry, then adrenal glands are nice as it effectively turns your attacks into plasma shots.
    • Drawbacks: In most games, it will be impossible to find cover for the Trygon on account of its height. Compounded with its lack of an Invulnerable save and huge threat potential, it will be a high-priority target; a single Trygon emerging unsupported will die. The rules for Trygon Tunnels are situational: Reserve-based armies generally wish to arrive at once rather than simply running into the slaughter piecemeal. Because Trygons are such an "in your face" choice, taking some target priority off of it will mean more punishment for backsitting enemies. This means that the Trygon works better with armies using Zoanthroapes as their primary anti-tank. As with other Tyranid Monstrous Creatures, the Trygon must be screened against assassin-type units, primary examples including Genestealer teams or the Librarian Furioso.
    • Upgrades: Adrenal Glands are a good moderately decent choice for the Trygon. Being Fleet allows the Trygon more opportunity to fully take advantage of Furious Charge Trygons already have fleet, so you're spending more points for the department of redundancy department, but the extra point of Strength makes it more adept at taking out enemy vehicles. For the cost of nearly four Termagants, it's not something to go out of your way for, but helps against heavy vehicle or high toughness armies. For a fair increase in points, one can optionally upgrade the Trygon to a Prime. Aside from buffing its Leadership (useful mostly for surviving against Neural Shredders/similar threats), and upping the range and output of its Bio-electric Pulse to something formidable, it most importantly makes the Trygon count as a Synapse Creature. Depending on the build involved, having a Prime Deep Strike can make it a good "relay point" for armies relying on rapidly advancing into the enemy lines, or a way to deliver Shadow of the Warp into the enemy lines (Also, the prime upgrade means the Trygon can take relics, one of which is the Ymgarl factor, equipping this relic gives the Trygon Prime up to 8 attacks on the charge, or a phenomenal 6 SMASH ATTACKS!!!). Regeneration is good due to the Trygon's high wound count and good chance with 4+, but not an auto take. With the 7th edition rules, toxin sacs are a solid take, as with most other MCs.


  • Protecting Monstrous Creatures:

Monstrous Creatures have less wounds than a horde of gaunts, but are only one model. This makes them more vulnerable to single shot weapons, but less vulnerable to pie plates. If they are touching area terrain, they get a save(either 4+ or 5+). If there is a unit between them and the unit shooting them, they get a 5+. If they are at least 25% obscured by anything, they get a 5+. A wall of gaunts is all that is needed to shield them. Be careful in how the gaunts are positioned, however, so that you don't slow the Monstrous Creature. Hormagaunts are ideal for this, because they run a rerollable 3d6, picking the highest Now they run 1D6+3. Gargoyles are good as well, with their 12" movement. Keep the gaunts in front and shield the Monstrous Creature, then charge with them in a manner that leaves an opening for the Monstrous Creature to get in as well. Since most Tyranid ranged weapons have low AP, you will get far more cover saves from this than your opponent's units will. Tervigons can do this without even trying, since they spawn their own gaunt meatshields. If you are playing a "Nidzilla" army without many gaunts, venomthropes can provide a similar effect: just be careful to keep them alive.

  • Dealing with Flyers:

7th edition is filled with Flyers. Stormravens, Stormtalons(aka flying potatoes), Doom Scythes, Burna-Bommaz, Vendettas and many others 1)arrive from reserve 2)can move up to 36" 3)require snapfiring to hit 4)can't be assaulted. The following strategies are of use against Flyers:

  • Devourer: The Devourer can glance Flyers to death. Devilgaunts fire it S4 Assault 3. A mob of them are sure to hit the flyer; however this only works against AV10.
  • Dakkafex/Tyrant: This is probably your second best option straight-up. Monstrous Creatures fire S6 Assault 6 Twin-linked per Devourer, and so can even glance a Stormraven with some luck. The Twin-linked is great when snap firing. The big weakness of the Devourer is the 18" range, and the fact that S6 isn't very effective against a Stormraven or a cheap Vendetta.
  • Impaler Cannon: S8 Assault 2 24" Ignores Line of Sight is a good deal. These can easily get glances on Flyers: if you can hit them. That's the problem: you only get 6 shots per Elite slot, per turn. Only one hits on average, and even that will only cause damage half the time against some of the heavier Flyers.
  • Vector Strike: This is the best access nids have to anti-air (with the crone being better all-around): D3+1 attacks that automatically hit the side armor. This seems to be how Games Workshop wants Tyranid players to deal with Flyers. Unfortunately, these attacks are only at S6(or S5 in the case of the Harpy) (and S8 in the case of the Hive Crone!). It is still worth the attempt in many situations, however. It is statistically likely for this to at least do something.
  • Hive Crone: 4 S5 Haywire missiles that rerolls to hit against fliers and S8 vector strikes arguably make this the Tyranids' Heldrake- one of the few good units in an otherwise bad codex (and it can start the game already on the table too).

  • Carnifex Slingshot: (Can no longer do this in 7th ed, can't attach ICs to MCs)

Have two Carnifexes equiped with the weapons of your choice, attach a Tyranid Prime to them with Scything Talons, Rending Claws, Flesh Hooks, and Adrenal Glands, have the unit move up. You can easily Look Out Sir AP2 shots to the Carnifexs, while be able to soak up one or two small arms fire, making them very difficult to remove without mass amount of Krak Missles. By the time the unit is behind Hormagaunts, in the movement phase detach the Prime from the Carnifexes and join up with the Hormagaunts before charging in. This allows the Prime to be alive longer and can deal with hidden powerfists while the Hormagaunts tear those Ultrasmurfs a new asshole! If the Carnifexes are lucky enough to be alive, have them either gun down heavy weapon squads with Brainleech Devourers or let them open up that Land Raider with it's Crushing Claws.

  • Spore Mine Spam:

Take 3 harpies, and 9 Biovores. Make your Biovores shoot at things they can't see to maximize your chance of missing. Every bullet spent shooting a spore mine is a bullet not spent shooting your real threats. You don't even always want to assault with your spore mines having them block passage ways, and provide cover to your coming swarm can provide more than a couple dead models.

  • Deathleapers assassination... thing

Turn 0 infiltrate this guy with a full brood of genestealers (brood lord optional but always a good idea) in some cover as close as possible to the opponents warlord. watch and wait. Hope that the deathleaper passes LD test (he has 10 so your probably okay) Turn 2 charge into the warlord as quickly as possible have the deathleaper issue a challenge which the enemy will accept because they'll be facing 20 genestealers. Defeat them at I7 with 6 attacks (you charged right?), WS 9 and S 6. Kill warlord. use hit-and-run, Drink delicious tears. Use pheromone trail to deep-strike mawloc for added troll.

EDIT: the Deathleaper IS NOT an Indipendent Character, so you can't join other units.

  • hive tyrant with hive commander
  • the swarmlord
  • two units of 30 devilgants

Using hive commander, outflank one unit of devilgants to get 90 shots on something that's probably far back and probably doesn't want to be shot at 90 times. Give preferred enemy to the gants that start on your frontline to make them more effective while they're still a full unit (if you got the first turn). DAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKA on turn one with preferred enemy, then DAKADAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKA again when your outflanking units arrive with Swarmlord's delicious +1 to reserve rolls. If you're playing against an army like Tau who likes to sit back more, this'll be really good against a Riptide (watch out for early warning override, though) due to the sheer number of worms you're outputting. Also if they don't have any frontliners that the gaunts can get in range of, the Swarmlord and a Tyrant will give you a pretty decent chance of getting onslaught for an extra d6" run before your shoot. If that's still not enough (and you're alright with the expense), you can throw adrenal glands on your gaunts starting on the field to give them fleet and reroll the run die, in addition to giving a little more strength to a full unit of 30 if they get up to charging.

  • Neutralize*
  • Harpy
  • 10 Gargoyles

Assault the same unit with these guys on the same turn The harpy gives the poor souls -5 to their initiative so the gargoyles strike before they do Then use the blinding venom attack. Ever seen an enemy pass 10 initiative tests at once? Well Nothing can so they're all WS and BS 1 until the end of their next turn! Q something to chop 'em with