Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Tyranids(8E)

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Please note that this is the tactics for 8th edition Tyranids. Their current tactics can be found here.

Why Play Tyranids[edit]


  • Because you want to play an army that can horde like Imperial Guard and fuck up tanks with insectoid mini-Godzillas.
  • Your melee specialist units move like cheetahs on crystal meth.
  • A Wal-Mart-sized car park of crazy monsters to "play around" with.
  • An insane amount of customization that can rival Chaos. Some units like Warriors and Carnifexes can fill entirely different roles depending on which weapons you give them, and the 8E Codex has given them a bunch of their old 4th edition wargear back. Blood of Baal expanded this even further with the ability to make your own Hive Fleet Adaptations and the introduction of Adaptive Physiology.
  • Multiple delivery options for putting units on the battlefield where they need to be: Lictors, Raveners, Spores, Mawlocs and units in Trygon Tunnel or Tyrannocyte can all be placed outside of your deployment zone.
  • So many Assault weapons holy shit.
  • Synapse gives you the staying power other horde armies only dream of.
  • One of the most strategically flexible armies in the game. Gunline? Melee? Deep-Strike heavy? Alpha-Strikes? Tyranids have a way of fulfilling all of this and more!


  • A gunline is viable, but you'll probably have to get close, making you more vulnerable to Rapid Fire
  • Poor AP on average is a considerable issue when you're fighting armies with good armor saves (e.g. Space Marines).
  • Most tyranid armies, especially Hive Fleet Hydra, need lots of bodies to function effectively. This can make the army one of the more expensive to assemble, paint, and transport.
  • Your characters and venomthropes in the role of being a buff stick work only for strain-specific units, instead of across multiple spectra of units.
  • Very few good allrounders. While beeing flexible on what kind of army to build, you aren't that flexible on the battlefield.
  • Your melee, while highly damaging, is relatively low in Strength.
  • No standard movement speed for your army.
  • Your Characters are rather expensive. That means it's hard to get command points with pure Tyranids.
  • Painting your bugs can be an exercise in monotony (like most other horde armies.)
  • While 'nids can spam wounds and models like the best of them, there is a general lack of solid armor. 3+ saves are rare (there are no 2+s in a normal way), and heavy bolters/autocannons can eat up your standard 4+, 5+ and 6+ saves. Have faith in wonky psychic invuln saves on your big nasties when your opponent aims 10 lascannons at them.
  • As of early 2020, if you're not Space Marines, Eldar, Chaos, or Tau, then you're already behind the competitive power curve.
    • Nids especially were up shit creek without a paddle for a good while. But thanks to some useful new stuff in Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal, and recent nerfs to the Space Marine big codex/supplements, we've finally begun to CLAW (yup, I said it...) our way back up the ladder?

Faction Keywords[edit]

Other than the obvious TYRANIDS keyword the other one is <HIVE FLEET>. Every Tyranid unit needs to be assigned a Hive Fleet, either from the established fleets (Behemoth, Kraken, and Leviathan to name a few) or one of your own devising. The abilities in a Tyranid force only affect units from the same <HIVE FLEET>. We assume, in the below Tactics write up, that you will be playing with units all with the same <HIVE FLEET> keyword.

Compared to other armies, the Tyranid named characters are unusual in that you can choose their <HIVE FLEET>.

Special Rules[edit]

No matter what edition of the game, Tyranids have traditionally been defined by three special rules: Synapse, Instinctive Behaviour and Shadow in the Warp. For some reason, designers have tended to tinker with these every time a new codex comes out, much to the endless aggravation and rage of countless Tyranid players. 8th edition seems to be no exception, with the rules being changed not once but twice. Once for the index, and again for the codex. When in doubt, rely on the codex version until the rules inevitably get changed once again.

  • Instinctive Behaviour: If a <HIVE FLEET> unit with this ability is more than 24" away from a friendly <HIVE FLEET> Synapse unit, then it suffers a penalty to shooting and charging unless the target is the nearest visible and viable unit. If shooting, the penalty is a -1 to hit, and if charging, the unit suffers a -2 penalty to its charge move. An even less restrictive Instinctive Behaviour, so we're better off than ever before.
    • Formerly, instinctive behaviour limited a unit to only being able to shoot and charge the nearest visible enemy unit. The current is a much welcome quality of life improvement, as you will no longer need Synapse units to babysit your Pyrovores, Biovores, or anything else not particularly interested in successfully rolling to hit with shooting or making a charge roll, such as a Tyrannofex shooting its Acid Spray. At the same time, it gives your bigger creatures that wouldn't benefit from Morale immunity in the first place more room to wander off without being penalised for it.
    • Worth noting that this just affects shooting and charging targets. You unit can still act normally regarding moving, advancing, and retreating.
    • With the recent changes, choosing the correct Synapse units for your army has become far more forgiving. However, it is still a good idea to try and pair units up based on their roles. Keep fast units with fast units (Broodlords and Genestealers, for instance) and slower ones with your second wave or artillery units.
  • Shadow in the Warp: Enemy PSYKERS must subtract 1 from any Psychic test they make if they are within 18" of any units with this ability. TYRANID PSYKERS are not affected.
    • Was formerly listed at 8" in the index but has been changed for the codex. The addition of a whopping 10" to this rule is understandably quite a big deal now that its range is long enough to mess with Smite spammers.
    • Frankly, a rule often forgotten in the 7th Edition days due to how infrequently it came in use. Now with the increased potency and ease of manifesting powers, plus the new mechanism of denying a power cast within 24" of one of your psykers, putting them at a -1 disadvantage makes this an ability worth having.
    • Reminder: GENESTEALER CULT PSYKERS also count as TYRANID PSYKERS. On the one hand, you can add GENESTEALER CULT units to your army without having to play careful positioning games, but on the other hand, if you're playing against them, Shadow in the Warp is worthless.
  • Synapse: <HIVE FLEET> units automatically pass Morale tests if they are within 12" of any friendly <HIVE FLEET> units with this ability.
    • Was formerly listed at 8" in the index, but has been changed for the codex.
    • The removal of templates and this rule makes Tyranids one of the best armies to run large blobs of units with.
    • Automatically passing Morale tests is a big deal in 8E. Much of the new meta is about killing the enemy army via morale attrition, and the Tyranids raise a middle appendage to such mechanics. While it's less helpful to Carnifexes and other monsters which deploy as individuals (and therefore were already unaffected by morale), Gaunts and other units that work best with a lot of models have more to lose from a bad morale roll and will benefit the most from Morale immunity.
    • Makes Imperial Guard players really jealous since their Commissars got nerfed, so be sure to rub it in their face.
  • Extensions of the Hive Mind: Objective Secured, Tyranid edition.

Hive Fleet Adaptations[edit]

Another Codex brings another set of Chapter Tactics-equivalents, representing the main 3 Hive Fleets in the fluff (Behemoth, Kraken, and Leviathan) as well as 4 others that range from the obscure to the entirely new. Unlike other factions with Chapter Tactics-equivalents, your choice of Hive Fleet does not limit which special characters you can take. Splinter fleets take the Adaptation of their progenitor, while Hive Fleets not otherwise listed can pick and choose whichever Adaptation they like.

  • BEHEMOTH - Hyper-Aggression: Re-roll failed charges; gives you 8" charges 65.97% of the time and 9" charges 47.84% of the time. Consider taking adrenal glands on deepstriking Trygons, Gargoyles, Hive Tyrants, and Hormagaunts.
  • GORGON - Adaptive Toxins: Re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the Fight phase. Great on anything really, but bugs with Scything Talons (big and small) and Toxin Sacs are real nice.
  • HYDRA - Swarming Instincts: Re-roll failed hits in the Fight phase against units that you outnumber. Your Hormagaunt and Gargoyle swarms will thank you for taking this, because why wouldn't they outnumber their targets?
    • Unfortunately this is completely useless on any of your big bugs. Furthermore, later in the game after your horde has been thinned out it can more or less render this adaptation meaningless. Luckily, their Stratagem can address the latter issue.
  • JORMUNGANDR - Tunnel Networks: Non-FLY units always count as being in cover for shooting attacks, but advancing or charging makes this drop until your next Movement phase. Requires a slight drop in mobility to make it work, but it compensates by offering better defence in return. Consider using Trygons alongside Jormagundr's Stratagem to make up for the lost mobility. If you want to be That guy model your army as a bunch of shark fins sticking out of dirt.
  • KRAKEN - Questing Tendrils: Can charge after Falling Back, and rolls 3d6 keep the highest for Advance rolls (average: 4.96", up from the baseline of 3.5"). The correct choice if you go Genestealer heavy, since between this and the Stratagems they can rocket to the opposite side of the board on the first turn. Also good on Carnifexes since you can always trigger Living Battering Ram on your turn. Also very useful for controlling the board, whether it be objective-grabbing or preventing Deep Strikes from fucking your game up. Long range/shooty armies will shed salty biomass when half your army is already within kissing distance by turn 2, eager to give loving hugs with their talons and maws.
  • KRONOS - Bio-Barrage: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 in the Shooting phase if you didn't move - basically the Cadian Doctrine, but without the ability to use an order to make it apply to melee instead of ranged. Much needed for shooty Nids given their average BS, and the requirement to be stationary doesn't matter as much for Tyrannofexes and Exocrines since you'll probably keep them still anyway.
    • If you want to play Dakkefexes, this isn't a good Adaptation for them considering their main strength is mobility
  • LEVIATHAN - Synaptic Imperative: 6++ FNP within 6" of a Synapse creature, provided that the unit in question has not been affected by Catalyst (which overrides this). One more backup save with the potential to negate mortal wounds never hurt anyone, and it's less specialised than the other Adaptations so it allows a greater degree of flexibility in your army.
    • Naturally that goes for the synapse creature itself as well, since - of course - it is within 6" of itself. Duh.

Custom Adaptations[edit]

Like several armies before them, the Psychic Awakening expansion will offer the Tyranids the ability to create bespoke Hive Fleet Adaptations by combining any two of the rules listed below. Keep in mind that unlike other races with similar custom traits, tyranids don't get to choose a main strain to be a successor of (though the FAQ may end up saying otherwise). So while choosing your custom adaptations let's you tailor your hive fleet to fit your army, you don't get access to hive fleet specific stratagems or psi powers.

  • Adaptive Exoskeleton: 6++ for gaunts, gants, and gargs.
  • Bestial Nature: +2 attacks to models with a damage table and on the last row.
  • Bio-metallic Cysts: Improves AP of all Scything Talon weapons by one. (FAQ'd. Now only affects basic scything talons. No love for monsters.)
  • Bio-sphere Consumption: 6+ ranged FnP for Monsters in the first turn, or who have not moved in the movement phase.
  • Cranial Channelling: Once per turn, when a psychic test is taken for a model with this adaptation, you may re-roll the result. (FAQ clarifies that it's once per turn for a single psyker unit in the army. Utter Bullshit.)
  • Feeding Frenzy: 6" pile-in.
  • Horror From Beyond: -1 LD to enemy units within 3" of Monsters. When will GW learn that low range -LD auras don't work.
  • Hypermetabolic Acceleration: Reroll Advance rolls.
  • Membranous Mobility: -1 to hit against your units with fly in melee. Stacks with blinding poison from gargoyles.
  • Metamorphic Regrowth: Regain 1 lost wound at the beginning of each turn. Great adaptation for monster heavy armies. Makes Old One Eye virtually immortal, especially if he's your warlord.
  • Morphic Sinews: MONSTER Models do not suffer the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons, or advancing and shooting assault weapons. Surprisingly good, as it makes up for lack of range.
  • Pack Hunters: -1 AP to melee weapons when you fight units with fewer models.
  • Prey Sight +1 to hit rolls for Monsters that charged, are charged or heroically intervened. This is a lovely little adaptation for Nidzilla armies. Trygons hitting on 2s with a reroll. Same for Hierodules. Carnifexes hitting on 2s with their crushing claws as long as Old One Eye is along for the ride. Haruspexes being borderline useful.
  • Senses of the Outer Dark: FnP 4+ against enemy Overwatch. Cuts 50% of all overwatch damage taken. Fuck. The. Tau. Thats pretty damn good, though useless when you charge a model that is built around melee to begin with (CC nators, most Orks, etc).
  • Shrewd Predators: Consolidation moves can be made wherever you want as long as there aren't enemy models within 3.
  • Sporemist Spines: can advance when falling back.
  • Synaptic Augmentation: If a unit is within 6" of a Synapse creature, it may re-roll 1 hit roll when chosen to shoot or fight. Works best on MSU and monster heavy lists.

Tactical Objectives[edit]

11 - Swarm
1 VP if you control more objectives than your opponent at the end of this turn.
12 - Crush
1 VP if an enemy unit was destroyed by either a MONSTER or a unit with more than 10 models
13 - Dominate
1 VP if at least 3 psychic powers were manifested.
14 - Decapitate
Score 1 VP if you killed at least one CHARACTER this turn; d3 VP for two or more.
15 - Terrify
1 VP if an enemy unit failed a morale test this turn. Gain d3 VP if 3 or more enemy units failed their morale tests.
16 - Devour
1 VP if an enemy unit was destroyed in the Fight phase this turn. If 3 or more were destroyed, gain d3 VP. If 6 or more were destroyed, gain d3+3 VP.


As of the latest FAQ, these only work with <Hive Fleet> detachments, not any Tyranid detachment, meaning they do not synergise with Genestealer Cults in any way. In most cases, these were worded to say <Hive Fleet> anyways.


  • Adrenaline Surge (3 CP): Use during the end of the Fight phase. Select a Tyranid unit that has already fought, that unit may fight again. I don't need to tell you how crazy this is, so be sure to use it when the time is right considering its cost.
    • If your unit didn't charge that turn (ie started in combat), you can kill a unit, consolidate 3" into another unit, then attack that unit. Or combine it with the overrun stratagem.
  • Bounty of the Hive Fleet (1 CP/3 CP): Mandatory bonus relic stratagem.
  • Caustic Blood (1 CP): At the start of the Fight phase, select a unit. Whenever a model from that unit dies, the enemy which inflicted the killing blow takes a mortal wound on a 6+. Your 30+ model Gaunt blobs were going to take losses anyway, so why not make them into potential suicide bombs? Elite armies such as Adeptus Custodes, Grey Knights and Harlequins hate this considering their low model count.
  • Death Frenzy (2 CP): Use when a Character dies, that unit can immediately fight as if it was the Fight phase, or shoot as if it was the Shooting phase. A last fuck-you attack sounds nice but do mind of its cost and that anything with a damage chart has to use the bottom. Finds use by squeezing the last drop of violence out of Old One Eye when he is very close to killing something important. This is for your low health broodlords: throw them at characters, monsters, and vehicles you need killed before they die, 12 attacks at s5 -3 d3dam hitting on 2s with rerolls to wound will end things, especially if they have no invuln.
  • Digestive Denial (2 CP): Use after deployment but before the first turn starts. Choose a piece of terrain other than a fortification. Units fully within or on this piece of terrain do not gain any bonus to their saving throws for being in cover. Situational, but can really fuck campy armies in their holy passage.
  • Feeder Tendrils (1 CP): When a Genestealer, Lictor, Venomthrope, or Toxicrene kills a Character in the Fight Phase, gain D3 CP. At the very least, this is effectively free since gaining 1 CP will still be enough to negate the cost of using the Stratagem in the first place. More often, it'll let you turn opposing characters into an opportunity for bonus CP.
    • Currently there is a debate going on if this stratagem works on the unit type rather than the keyword. Should FAQ clarify it works only on unit types, it doesn't work on Broodlords.
  • Grisly Feast (1 CP): Use this stratagem in the morale phase. Select a unit of Ripper Swarms or Haruspex from your army. Your opponent must add 1 to any morale tests taken for enemy units that are within 6" of that unit.
  • Implant Attack (1 CP): select a model that is still alive after being wounded by a Tyranid unit in the fight phase. Roll a D6 for each enemy model that was wounded, on a 2+ the unit suffers a mortal wound. Sounds bad until a situation arises where a nasty opposing character survives a Fight phase with 1 wound left.
  • Invisible Hunter (1 CP): use during the movement phase. select a Lictor from your army within 1" of an enemy unit, that model can fall back, shoot, and charge in this turn.
  • Metabolic Overdrive (1 CP): Use during the movement phase. Pick a Tyranid unit that has moved, that unit can move (and advance, if you wish) again. However, roll a D6 for every model in the unit; on a 1 that unit suffers a mortal wound. Additionally, the affected unit cannot shoot or charge for the turn. A small price to pay for giving a unit a second (or if you're also going to use Hive Commander or Overrun, third) movement phase for your turn.
    • It cannot be underestimated how useful this is, You can turn the Maleceptor into a psychic missile, send Venomthropes to shroud a unit in the frontline, use it to deliver an emergency Synapse(use the Maleceptor and you can do both this and the above) and any other kind of crazy things you can pull off.
    • Remember that is has been FAQ'd that you CANNOT advance twice in a single phase. However, when you trigger this stratagem on a unit that just advanced, it's movement characteristic remains modified. E.g. If a unit has an 8" movement characteristic and you rolled a 3 for advance (total 11"), when you pop this stratagem on them, they get to move another 11". Adrenal glands won't give the bonus again thou.
    • Also remember that Onslaught has been FAQ'd to not work with this.
  • Overrun (1 CP): Use after your unit killed an enemy in the Fight phase. As long as they are not within 3" of an enemy model, the can move (and Advance) again but cannot go within 1" of an enemy model. The term 'Fast Food' has never been so literal.
    • Has interesting usage when combined with Adrenaline Surge, as fighting again includes pile in and consolidate moves. Obliterate the screen, advance to the backline and touch all their tanks for 4 command points total.
  • Pathogenic Slime (2 CP): In the Shooting phase, select a Tyranid Monster. Its shooting attacks now deal 1 extra damage. Your Deathspitters with Slimer Maggots are now souped-up Autocannons. The new and improved Devourers look even scarier now.
  • Pheromone Trail (1 CP): Use when a Tyranid Infantry unit from your army is set up on the battlefield as reinforcements if there is already a Lictor from your army on the battlefield. You can set up the unit wholly within 6" of the Lictor and more than 9" from any enemy models rather than following the normal rules for setting up the unit.
    • It works best for narrative plays where you are forced to put non-DS units on reserve.
    • The only other use would be to get more room to place your models. It can be quite challenging to place 30 Hormagaunts within 3" of a Trygon and still leave both units with that 9" charge.
  • Power of the Hive Mind (1 CP): Use at the end of the psychic phase. A Tyranid Psyker that manifested a power can attempt to manifest one additional psychic power this turn.
  • Psychic Barrage (1 CP): Use when a Zoanthrope unit of at least 3 models is within 6" of 2 other such units. None of them make any psychic tests; instead, select a point within 18" of the Zoanthrope units that is visible to all of them. For all units (friend and foe) within 3" of that point, roll a d6 (subtracting 1 if it's a Character and adding 1 if it's a unit with at least 10 models). On a 4+, the affected unit suffers 3d3 mortal wounds. A cousin of the Space Marine/CSM Linebreaker Bombardment, this trades the potential for more mortal wounds from casting Smite from each individual Zoanthrope brood for an AOE effect and greater reliability (since it's a Stratagem effect, it can't fail to go off, trigger Perils, or get denied). But do mind the risk of friendly fire. Or don’t, you have enough bodies.
  • Rapid Regeneration (2 CP): Use at end of your movement phase. A targeted Tyranid model regains d3 lost wounds. Gives the Swarmlord and other big things the boost they need to move them up a bracket on the damage table.
  • Scorch Bugs (1 CP): Use when a Tyranid unit from your army is select to attack in the Shooting phase. You can add 1 to all wound rolls made for that unit's fleshborer or fleshborer hive attacks. Tyrannofexes are going to wound MEQs and GEQs at 2+ with 40 shots. Ouch.
  • Single-minded Annihilation (2 CP): Use at the end of the shooting phase. A Tyranid Infantry unit can shoot again. Did someone say 180-shot-devilgaunts? Or use this on your Hive Guard to destroy another vehicle you don't like
  • Sporefield (3 CP): Use after both armies deploy but before the battle begins. Add up to two units of Spore mines to your army as reinforcements and set them up anywhere on the battlefield more than 12" from enemy models. Too bad you have to pay reinforcement points for this. Actually that's up for debate, and will likely be FAQ'd. Page 99 states "...Spore Mines' points cost does not come out of your pool of Reinforcement Points" but specifically when produced by units that create them ie. Biovores and Sporocysts.
    • FAQ is out and hilariously it confirms that yes, you do need to pay reinforcement points for these.
    • While costly (2 CP would be more reasonable), this stratagem has one important function: alpha strike denial. Particularly if you are going second, this allows you to set up two lines of 9 spore mines each about 15"-17" away from your battle lines to create a huge no-fly zone for tactical reserves. Each unit when carefully positioned covers an area of about 18" x 34" of tactical reserve denial. Just make sure you also bring something else to spend those 180 reinforcement points on in case your opponent is not going heavy on the reserves (read: playing CSM). Perhaps a unit of 22 Devilgants to Endless Swarm behind enemy lines.
  • Voracious Appetite (1 CP): Use in the fight phase when a Tyranid monster or character from your army is chosen to attack. You can re-roll all failed wound rolls for that model until the end of the phase. Wanna put the hurt on that land raider? Drop this on ol' Swarmy and watch the tears flow.
  • Call the Brood (3 CP): At the end of the movement phase, add a new unit of up to 5 Genestealers, wholly within 6" of a Broodlord or infestation node but more than 9" from any enemy model.
    • Yes, you have to pay the reinforcement points for these too.

Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal[edit]

  • Aggressive Adaptation (1 CP): Use in the Fight phase, when an attack from a <Hive Fleet> model in your army destroys an enemy unit. Until the end of the battle, improve the AP of that model’s unit’s melee weapons by 1. You can only use this on a unit once.
  • Buried Threats (1 CP): Use in the Movement phase, when a RIPPERS unit is set up with the Burrowers ability. For as long as it remains stationary, units shooting ranged weapons against it get -1 to hit.
  • Encephalic Diffusion (2 CP): Use at the start of the turn and pick a MALECEPTOR model in your army. For the rest of the turn when someone makes a ranged weapon against a friendly unit within 6” of that Maleceptor, subtract 1 from the weapon’s Strength characteristic to a minimum of 1.
  • Feeding the Hunger (1 CP): Use in the Fight phase when a HARUSPEX unit is picked to fight. For the rest of the phase, it can re-roll hit rolls.
    • Worth noting that total rerolls (not just 1's to hit) is a very rare Tyranid ability and well worth the 1 CP tax.
  • Feral Instincts (1 CP): Use in the Fight phase. Pick a HORMAGAUNTS unit and for the rest of the phase, its melee weapons get +1 AP.
  • Grasping Tendrils (1 CP): Use in the opponent’s movement phase, when an enemy unit without a minimum move characteristic is within 1” of a TOXICRENE unit and attempts to fall back. Roll a D6 and add1 if the unit is an Infantry unit. On a 3+, it can’t fall back this turn.
  • Hive Instinct (1 CP): Use in the Charge phase and pick an enemy unit within 1” of a <Hive Fleet> Synapse unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, when a charge roll is made by a friendly <Hive Fleet> unit that targets that enemy unit, roll an extra D6 for the charge roll and drop the lowest result. The first model you move as part of the charge has to end up within 1” of that specific enemy unit otherwise the charge fails and no units move.
    • A natural pairing is to combine the Arachnacyte Gland relic (preferably on a Trygon Prime or a Flyrant) and this stratagem. The relic-bearer deep strikes in and declares a charge first. If they succeed, then you use the stratagem and help other nearby units get stuck in. In the case of the Trygon Prime, that is most likely whatever accompanied it in its tunnel.
  • Hunter’s Drive (1 CP): Use in your Charge Phase and pick a <Hive Fleet> unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, when that unit declares a charge that targets a unit that lost any models to ranged attacks made by <Hive Fleet> SYNAPSE models this turn, roll an extra D6 and discard the lowest die when making the charge roll. The first model you move when charging has to end up within 1” of that unit or else the charge fails and no models in the charging unit move.
  • Progeny of the Hive (1 CP): Use before the battle to give a Tyranids Infantry unit or one Monster in your army an Adaptive Physiology. You can’t pick a unit that already has an Adaptive Physiology and you can only use this once per battle.
  • Psychic Fissure (2 CP): Use at the start of your opponent’s Psychic phase. For the rest of the phase, if an enemy psyker takes a psychic test within 12” of a <Hive Fleet> Synapse unit from your army and fails the test, they take D3 mortal wounds. This syncs quite nicely with the Kronos-specific warlord trait, and will make psychic heavy armies extremely wary around you. No one wants to take 2D3 mortal wounds to the face. Or 3D3 if they roll perils on a double-1!
  • Savage Distraction (1 CP): Use in the Fight phase, when an enemy unit is killed by a model in a <Hive Fleet> unit from your army. In your opponent’s next Shooting phase, when an enemy unit within 6” of that <Hive Fleet> unit fires a ranged weapon, they get -1 to hit.
  • Skyswarm Fusillade (1 CP): Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase. Pick a GARGOYLES unit in your army. For the rest of the phase fleshborers in that unit become type Pistol 1.
  • Surprise Ambush (1 CP): Use in the Charge phase. Pick a LICTOR that’s entirely on/within a terrain feature or set up this turn using Hidden Hunter. Until the end of the turn, it can’t be Overwatched and add +1 to its Charge rolls.
    • Turning off Overwatch is a big deal, especially against shooting heavy lists like Tau and Iron Hands. While a Lictor may not survive to make its points back, the ability to help another unit get stuck in should more than balance the cost.
    • Also applies to Deathleaper as he unsurprisingly has the LICTOR keyword. Niccccccccce *trails off into a hissssssssss*.
  • Symbiotic Devastation (1 CP): Use at the start of the Shooting phase. Pick an EXOCRINE. Until the end of the phase, it’s counted as not having moved. (FAQ clarifies that this does not allow an Exocrine to advance and shoot. Still usefull to get in range or line of sight.)
  • Synaptic Channelling (1 CP): Use in your Psychic phase. Pick a <Hive Fleet> Psyker unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, it knows all the powers known by friendly <Hive Fleet> Psyker units that are on the battlefield.
  • Unexpected Incursion (1 CP): Use in the Movement phase, when a MAWLOC model is set up using the Terror from the Deep ability. When determining the Mortal Wounds from the Terror of the Deep ability, add 2 to the rolls.
  • Unyielding Chitin (1 CP): Use in the Charge phase or your opponent’s Shooting phase when someone shoots at a TYRANID PRIME or TYRANID WARRIORS unit from your army. For the rest of the phase, reduce the damage characteristic of incoming ranged attacks by 1, to a minimum of 1.

Hive Fleet-Specific[edit]

  • Behemoth - Brute Force (1 CP): Use when a unit charges. Roll a d6 for each model within 1" of an opponent. If the unit is a monster, it causes a mortal wound on a 2+. Otherwise, it causes a mortal wound on a 6. 1 CP is cheap for an average of 5 mortal wounds per 30-unit blob charging (Really? how likely is it you'll get all 30 models in that unit within 1" of an enemy?), and it stacks with the Carnifexes' Living Battering Ram for good measure. The Swarmlord, Adrenal Glands, and the Behemoth trait can help with ensuring said charge.
  • Gorgon - Hyper-Toxicity (1 CP): In the Fight phase, pick a unit with the Toxin Sacs biomorph. It now triggers its damage bonus on a 5+ instead of a 6+. Works best in big units of Genestealers and Hormagaunts.
    • It should be obvious, but don't use this when you are only wounding on 6+, as a roll of 5 will still fail.
  • Hydra - Endless Swarm (2 CP): Use at the end of the movement phase. Select a destroyed unit of Termagants, Hormagaunts, Gargoyles, or Hydra Infantry. Add an identical unit to your army and set it up as reinforcement wholly 6" of any board edge and more than 9" from an enemy. Technically any Hive Fleet can use this Stratagem, but only Hydra can apply it to non-Gaunt infantry like Warriors or Venomthropes. And there's nothing that explicitly says that this can't bring back the Tyranid Prime or Neurothrope you made your Warlord since they're Infantry too...
    • As of the FAQ, this now costs reinforcement points. In other words, this is pointless in Matched Play.
  • Jormungandr - Enemy Below (1 CP): When a single Jormungandr Infantry unit is set up, you can put it underground instead of deploying it normally. Whenever you deploy a Ravener squad, Mawloc, Trygon, or Trygon Prime from underground, said infantry unit can deep strike within 3", but more than 9" of an enemy unit. (this does mean Trygons can now deep strike multiple units at once). Sadly, the distance requirements mean Mawlocs can't both use this and benefit from their gimmick. Notable uses are:
    • Bring a Broodlord along with the Genestealer unit accompanying your Trygon. (Conveniently enough, the Start Collecting! set for Tyranids contains that very mix of units.)
    • Drop Pyrovores within their weapon range to torch enemy infantry.
    • Bring Tyrant Guard in with your Raveners (or Trygon) right next to your Swarmlord in a Tyrannocyte to give him protection while he hurls the Raveners/Trygon at the enemy lines.
    • Venomthropes for protection to weather enemy shooting in case of failed charges.
    • Drop Hive Guard with Shockcannons in range of enemy vehicles.
    • Use Raveners as a budget Trygon for deep striking purposes if you want to save slots.
  • Kraken - Opportunistic Advance (1 CP): Use in the Movement Phase. Choose a Kraken unit that does not have the Fly keyword. When Advancing you can double the number you roll when determining how much to add to the unit's Movement characteristic, "rather than following the normal rules for Advancing" (whatever the last part means, read the third point).
    • Combined with Kraken's adaptation, you have a 70% chance of adding 10+" to your movement. Using this on a sufficiently speedy unit in conjunction with Metabolic Overdrive, Overrun, and/or Hive Commander will let you cover more ground in one turn than some armies can move in an entire battle.
    • FAQ: faqs confirms that this stratagem cannot be used with Hive Commander. All stratagems that say they must be used in a particular phase can only be used in that phase. They can't be used with out-of-phase actions like Hive Commander.
    • "rather than following the normal rules for Advancing", it's a messy puzzle with some cracks. What this probably means is that instead of just rolling a dice and adding the result to the unit's movement characteristic, you're instead rolling and then doubling that number, thus "not following the normal rules for advancing" but still counting as so.
  • Kronos - The Deepest Shadow (1 CP): When a Psyker within 24" of a Kronos unit tries to manifest a psychic power, it can only roll one die for its psychic test. Makes powers with a Warp Charge of over 6 unusable, and when combined with Shadow in the Warp and the Kronos WT you should be able to shut down Craftworld Eldar and Tzeentch armies easily.
    • Use Biovores to fire spore mines before popping this to really piss off your opponents.
  • Leviathan - War on All Fronts (1 CP): Use during the Fight phase. Select an enemy unit within 1" of at least one Leviathan unit that can FLY and one unit without Fly. You may reroll all To Hit and To Wound rolls of 1 against that unit. Hard to pull off, but since Tyranids don't have characters that provide rerolls to hit or to wound this will be a big help against especially resilient units. At the very least, it'll be more efficient than spending CP for individual re-rolls.

Psychic Powers[edit]

The Hive Mind discipline is the only psychic table your psykers will be rolling on, or choosing from. With the Codex, there are now 6 powers plus the automatically known Smite power.

  • Because everyone knows it, I'll put this here for reference - Smite: WC5, +1 WC for each attempt to use it in a turn after the first. Targets the closest visible enemy unit within 18". That unit suffers d3 mortal wounds. If the casting value rolled was over 10, the unit suffers d6 mortal wounds instead. It's pretty versatile overall.
  1. Dominion: WC5, Select a friendly Tyranid unit within 36" of the psyker, until your next Psychic phase they ignore Instinctive Behaviour and automatically pass morale. Not a must have now that IB is not so bad, but still pretty nice to have.
  2. The Horror: WC6. A unit within 24" that is visible to the caster subtracts 1 from their to hit rolls and Leadership characteristic.
    • Basically hobbled versions of the old 7E Powers of the Hive Mind The Horror and Paroxysm rolled into a single power.
      • -1 penalties can screw over armies that rely heavily on rerolls and effects that trigger on to hit rolls of 6. For instance, necron tesla weapons will never go off since all their 6s become 5s.
      • Also great against plasma heavy armies, as any supercharged weapon kills the bearers on 1s and 2s. If they shot Sporecyst Carnifexes or units close to a Venomthrope, that penalty rises to killing on a 3 as well, so they'll have a 50/50 chance of blowing themselves up if they supercharge.
  3. Catalyst: WC6. A TYRANID unit within 18" of the caster gets to ignore any wound or mortal wound it takes on a roll of 5+, until the Tyranid player's next psychic phase. Remember that FnP equivalents can be used to nullify mortal wounds.
    • Basically a longer range version of the old Catalyst power but one that doesn't affect both the caster and target.
    • Note that this is not a save which is taken before damage gets allocated. It's a save against wounds, which are worked out after damage is applied. A failed save against a 3 damage weapon means 3 of these additional rolls will be needed. So while not as effective against multiple damage weapons it can still help reduce the impact on your larger creatures. Leviathan has a Hive Fleet Adaptation with a similar effect, so it doesn't benefit quite as much.
  4. Onslaught: WC6 (seeing a theme here on the charge values). An 18" power that allows a TYRANID unit to advance and shoot in the same turn without suffering any penalties to the BS for moving/advancing with Heavy Weapons or Assault weapons. Oh, and they can charge after advancing too!
    • The old Onslaught power on steroids.
    • Even if the unit has no guns this allows a unit to advance and still charge.
    • Since powers are now picked expect to see this power on every level 1 psyker (albeit you can only attempt to manifest this on one unit a turn in matched).
    • Somewhat of a gamble, as you Advance before Psychic Round so if you fail to manifest the power you've shut down the unit you planned to boost. Consider casting this with a Maleceptor, as his +1 to Psychic Tests makes this a lot more reliable. Alternatively, if you're trying to get that unit of Gaunts up the table in turn 1, then paired with The Swarmlord you could have your little critters Move as normal (no advance), then have The Swarmlord cast Onslaught on them. If it doesn't go off, you're still able to move them again (instead of shooting) using Hive Commander and so are still able to Charge. If it DOES go off, you can Move AND Advance with Hive Commander (which you do in the shooting phase), and still charge. i.e. No risk of losing your charge.
    • Most effective with Kraken (which has better advance rolls and more reason to advance when possible) and Behemoth (which will appreciate the further boost to its rerollable charges).
  5. Paroxysm: WC5. Select an enemy unit within 18" of the Psyker, that unit fights last until your next Psychic phase. If the unit has an ability that allows them to fight first then they are considered to not have that ability. Fuck Slaanesh.
    • It’s worth noting that according to the Tyranid Codex FAQs the Counter-Offensive Stratagem cannot be used on units under the effect of this psychic power, which is a nice buff to melee heavy armies.
  6. Psychic Scream: WC5. The nearest enemy target within 18" suffers D3 mortal wounds. If the target is a psyker, roll 2d6; if the result is higher than their Ld, a randomly chosen psychic power they know is disabled for the rest of the battle. Doesn't have quite the same potential to inflict damage as Smite, but the ability to disable a unit's potential to buff allies or throw around mindbullets of their own more than makes up for it. It's not gonna be easy to use on characters though, so your best targets are probably Thousand Sons, Tzeentch daemons, and Grey Knights (because they deserve even more pain).
    • This can also force your opponent to take the same power on more than one Psyker to try and counteract the disabling effect. Since the Rule of One in Matched Play prevents repeated attempts to manifest a given power more than once per psychic phase, you can weaken your opponent in the psychic phase even if you don't actually manifest this power- either you cripple the other guy's psykers, or you force then to waste a valuable power slot. Either way, you benefit.
    • Keep in mind this is not Smite, it's possible to Smite AND Psychic Scream with one unit (Psychic Scream can be used only once per turn as normal)
    • RAW, this can force a Psyker to lose access to Smite. Have fun making Smite spammers even more useless.

Hive Fleet-Specific[edit]

As of Psychic Awakening, each Hive Fleet also gets a power only it can use.

  • Behemoth - Unstoppable Hunger (WC7): Pick a friendly Behemoth unit within 9”. Until the end of the turn, add 1 to the wound rolls for that unit’s melee attacks.
    • This power is amazing on multiple units. On Genestealers, your rending claws will trigger on a 5+, while letting your mid-size bugs tackle their MEQ equivalents.
      • Not multiple units at once, obviously!
        • It WOULD be more amazing on multiple units at once, obviously!
  • Leviathan - Hive Nexus (WC6): The range of the Synapse ability for anything that has it is increased to 18".
  • Kraken - Synaptic Lure (WC5): Pick an enemy unit. Until the end of the turn, re-roll charge rolls made by friendly Kraken units that target that unit.
    • Unless it gets an FAQ, this power currently has a range of infinite, so consider throwing it on a backfield neurothrope you want babysitting your biovores and hiveguard.
  • Gorgon - Poisonous Influence (WC6): Until the start of your next psychic phase, improve the AP on melee weapons for friendly models within 9” of this unit by one.
  • Jormungandr - Lurking Maws(WC6): Pick a visible enemy unit. Until end of turn, re-roll hit rolls against that unit from friendly Jormungandr units set up on the battlefield this turn. You cannot cast this in the first battle round.
    • This is another source of total rerolls, which is something Tyranids have been sorely lacking. Combines well with anything that can come in via Tyrannocyte or Trygon tunnel, but Hiveguard, Shooty warriors, or devourer gaunts all stand out as obvious picks.
  • Kronos - Symbiostorm (WC6): Pick a friendly unit 12”. Until the end of the turn, when that unit rolls a 6+ to hit with a ranged weapon, you get an additional hit.
    • This combines well with a Tyranid Prime's +1 to hit aura for warriors (and you can even let them shoot twice for 2 commandpoints) or even better with an Exocrine that stood still (or pretends to have stood still with the new stratagem).
  • Hydra - Death Shriek (WC5): Until your next Psychic phase, when a friendly hydra model that is within 6” of both this psyker and an enemy unit is destroyed, roll a D6. On a 6, the closest enemy unit takes 1 mortal wound. Another way of turning your Gaunts into a blob full of suicide bombers.

Warlord Traits[edit]


  • Adaptive Biology: From the end of the first phase in which the Warlord suffers a wound until the end of the battle, the Warlord takes 1 less damage from any attack (to a minimum of 1). Old One Eye has this trait, making him incredibly hard to kill
  • Alien Cunning: Before the battle begins, you can remove your warlord from the battlefield and deploy him again. Deploy your flyrant first, let your opponent counter deploy his force, then redeploy your warlord at the end to fuck with them. Swarmy comes stock with this.
    • A Flyrant may be redeployed into reserves with this.
  • Heightened Senses: Warlord never suffers any penalty to their to hit rolls. Fuck Alaitoc/Stygies/Raven Guard. Use this on a walking Dakkarant when trying to fight flyer-heavy armies to save some points. Red Terror comes stock with this one.
  • Synaptic Lynchpin: +6" to Synapse. Good but not great considering the increased range of normal Synapse, but if you're fielding lots of swarms with only a few Synapse units (e.g. you run Hydra) this can be a lifesaver.
    • On the other hand, since the IB is not an army killer thing anymore, and you can even play it out, and lastly, the other warlord traits are better than this, you should consider to not take this one.
  • Mind Eater: If your warlord kills a character in melee, then they can make an allied unit that is within 3" move (and advance) at the end of the fight phase. This is Deathleaper's trait. Practically made for Broodlords and Genestealers.
    • As you are moving as if in your Movement Phase, you can't end up within 1" of an enemy.
  • Instinctive Killer: At the beginning of the battle, select a unit. Your warlord can re-roll all failed to hit rolls when targeting that unit or any other unit with the same datasheet (target a tactical squad and get the bonus against all tactical squads). Having trouble with spam armies? Not anymore.

Hive Fleet-Specific[edit]

  • Kronos- Soul Hunger: When an enemy psyker fails a psychic test within 18" of the Warlord, the psyker takes D3 mortal wounds. And what do you know, that just so happens to be the same range that Shadow in the Warp covers. Don't forget to pair it with Kronos's Stratagem if you really want to ruin a psyker's day.
  • Behemoth- Monstrous Hunger: Any to wound roll of 6 in melee causes one additional damage. Same bonus as toxin sacs, but now stacks-fun when combined with Behemoth's relic.
  • Kraken- One Step Ahead: In each fight phase, you can pick one friendly Kraken unit within 6" of the warlord. That unit can fight first. If the enemy has charging units or ones with similar abilities, alternate staring with whoever's turn it is.
  • Leviathan- Perfectly Adapted: Once per battle round, you can reroll a single to hit, to wound, damage roll, advance roll, charge roll or saving throw roll. Save on that CP
  • Gorgon- Lethal Miasma: At the end of the fight phase, roll a dice for each unit within 1". On a 4+, they take a mortal wound.
  • Jormungandr- Insidious Threat: Enemies never get the bonus for having cover against the warlord and against friendly units within 3" of him.
  • Hydra- Endless Regeneration: Roll one dice at the beginning of each of your turns for each wound your warlord has lost. Regain a wound for each 6+. IWND on steroids- with good rolls, your Warlord can completely heal itself every turn.

Adaptive Physiology[edit]

Instead of a Warlord Trait, a Tyranid army can grant an extra rule to an infantry unit or monster of its choosing. In addition, the Progeny of the Hive Stratagem can, for the low cost of 1 CP, grant a (second) unit in your army an Adaptive Physiology. Sadly, the stratagem can only be used once per battle and no doubling up on bonuses.

  • FAQ'd. Cannot be given to Named Characters. (We all knew that this was gonna happen. But it was fun to take a Str 9 Ap-4 4dmg Swarmlord for a few weeks.)


  • Enhanced Resistance: When resolving an attack made against the unit with AP -1 or -2, that weapon has AP 0 for the attack.
  • Adrenal Webs: When this unit consolidates, it can move up to 2D6”.
  • Abhorrent Pheromones: –2 Ld to enemy units within 1”.
  • Unnatural Reactions: This unit can Heroically Intervene as if it were a character, and it can move up to 6” when doing so.
  • Dynamic Camouflage: The user's cover bonus is increased to +2. Excellent on Hive Guard or Warriors to make them almost entirely unmovable in cover or combine with Jormungandr for a 2+ save in the open.


  • Dermic Symbiosis: The model gets a 5+ invulnerable save and is considered to have double the number of wounds left for determining what profile row to use on its damage table.
  • Voracious Ammunition: At the end of your shooting phase, pick an enemy unit that lost a model to this unit’s attacks. That unit takes D3 mortal wounds. Excellent for a dakkafex, exocrine, tyrannofex, or flyrant.
  • Accelerated Digestion: At the end of the Fight phase, if this model killed an enemy model, it regains up to 1 lost wound, to a max of 3 per turn. Combine with the regeneration hive fleet trait on any melee monster (especially a Haruspex or Hive Tyrant) for big beasties that just won't go down.
  • Synaptic Enhancement: This model gains Shadow in the Warp and Synapse and gains the SYNAPSE keyword. Perfect for your backline shooters like Exocrines or Tyrannofexes that don't want to deal with instinctive behavior hampering their shooting. Alternatively, give it to a tyranocyte to give synapse to the unit you are deep striking.
  • Murderous Size: Before the battle, pick a melee weapon this model is equipped with. It gets +1 Strength, +1 Damage, and +1 to its AP. Could have been devastating if the Swarmlord could still take it, but the FAQ now forbids it. Still awesome for making a Hive Tyrant, Trygon, or Carnifex a better CC vehicle eater.


Melee Weapons[edit]

The biggest difference, other than two thirds of the below do multiple damage per wound, is how many melee weapons now have a Normal, Monstrous and Massive variant that is the same stat line but the bigger they are the greater the potential to do more damage.

A note on tails: The awful days of being forced to make one terrible tail weapon attack are over. All of the tails are optional now and do not take an attack away from the user. This does mean, however, that units with tails had their actual attack stat lowered by 1 to compensate. This equals out to a wash but do take note when reading the codex that your Hive Tyrant's now 4 attacks aren't crippled by losing one to the tail. (Trygons got to keep their six attacks, meaning that the tails are actually now purely a bonus on them!)

Basic Melee Weapons[edit]

Represent the basic melee weapons of a Tyranid rather than a specialized biomorph.

  • Claws and Teeth: The stock CCW for your Rippers and Termies. (And Zoanthropes as well, but really those guys don’t belong in combat in most cases)
  • Powerful Limbs: The fallback CCW for models not meant for combat like the Tyrannofex and Exocrine. Deals 2 Damage at AP-2. Decent as a deterrent, but hampered by most users having pitiful WS and few attacks.

Bone Swords[edit]

  • Boneswords: Somewhere between a chainsword and a power sword, dealing AP-2 alongside their extra attack by just owning a pair.
    • Lash whip and Bonesword: Same statline as paired Boneswords, but instead bizarrely replaces the free attack with the ability to make all attacks on the turn it is slain.
      • Thematically we just assume that having a sentient whip allows the wielder at some point to immobilize the target and get their digs in (or not) before/as they die.
  • Monstrous Boneswords: The Hive Tyrant's Boneswords deal 3 damage at the same AP as its little brethren, marking them a step up in lethality if you want a melee beast.
    • Lash Whip and Monstrous Bonesword: Same as above, but now with a Monstrous Bonesword's statline.
  • Bone Sabres: Papa Swarmy's famous blades, these deal AP-3 and 3 Damage each, and causes a mortal wound on a To Wound roll of 6+ ensuring that all but the toughest units in the game will get blenderised.

Crab Claws[edit]

The closest the Tyranids have to Power fists. Used to open up enemy food cans (AKA vehicles)

  • Crushing Claws: These things have essentially become Powerfists for Tyranids. Sx2, AP-3, and D1d3 at -1 to hit, the price tag will have you consider alternatives though at 25.
    • Monstrous Crushing Claws: The Carnifex equivalent. Same as above, but now with D3. Hitting on 5+ (4+ on the charge) is not fun, but you can stick Old One-Eye nearby to try and cope.
    • Massive Crushing Claws: Meant for Tervigons. Now inflicts D1d6, but you now need 5+ to hit and have no possible source of a +1 buff to negate it. Do not take.
    • Shoveling Claws: The Haruspex's hands. Essentially Monstrous Crushing Claws, but without the penalty. So you can crack open the can full of food people.

Mouth Weapons[edit]

  • Acid Maw: This is a free power sword. The weapon of the former biggest joke of 40k, the Pyrovore, now with AP-3 on all (i.e. both) its attacks. Can also be taken by Genestealers. DO THIS, they're basically free power swords for every 4 models in a unit.
    • Monstrous Acid Maw: An option for the Carnifex, with SU AP-5 and D1d3. Because you really want to make sure somebody won't get its armor save. Doesn't replace any other melee weapons either, so you can always use the talons if you want more reliable damage. Mutually exclusive with Enhanced Senses, Bio-Plasma, and Tusks.
  • Blinding Venom: It's only S3 AP-0, but if it wounds, it forces the enemy to take -1 to all hit rolls for the next turn. A decent free sucker punch for your Gargoyles. After poking the opponent with this, weather their now weak attacks, then on your next turn, fall back and shoot your Fleshborers into them.
  • Distensible Jaws: The "Maw" in Mawloc. AP-3 D1d6, but can only be used once per turn. A nice sucker punch against any high wound models.
  • Ravenous Maw: The freaky Hentai Mouth of the Haruspex. Deals D3 hits for each attack allocated to it, and each hit does a respectable AP-1 D3 Damage. It's pretty much encouraging you to go all-in.

Rending Claws[edit]

This is what makes genestealers universally feared.

  • Rending Claws: A cheap AP-1 weapon, with Rending being replaced with a 6+ on a wound roll giving the attack AP-4.
    • Monstrous Rending Claws: Deal AP-3 D3 Damage, on a 6+ on a wound roll makes the attack AP-6 and a flat 3 damage. Also confers re-rolls to wound, which allow for more 'rending' 6s and is important as the Tyrant generally needs higher numbers to hurt things now than in previous editions. Considering that they are also FREE, the claws should be your go-to melee weapon of choice for the Hive Tyrant.

Tail Weapons[edit]

Tail weapons typically grant an additional attack that must be made with it, and all of them only allow up to one attack to be made with them.

  • Biostatic Rattle: Exclusive to Trygon Primes, this AP-1 weapon forces any unit hurt by it to add 1 to their Morale tests at the end of the turn. Don't waste all your attacks on this weapon, but one or two bitch slaps will help with sending enemies running.
  • Bone Mace: Available only to 'Fexes as a tail, this is a cheap monstrous thing. At S8 AP-1 and D1d3, this thing's far worse than its Scything Talons, but if you took guns in all arms and went with Enhanced Senses over the Monstrous Acid Maw this allows you at least one decent knock.
  • Prehensile Pincer Tail: SU AP0 D1d3. Awesome on the Red Terror, terrible on the Hive Tyrant (but at least now it's "free").
  • Thresher Scythe: Another tail weapon, this time at S4 AP-1. It makes 1d3 attack rolls. Nice if you want to thin out a horde a bit.
  • Toxinspike: Another tail weapon. S1 AP0 D1d3, and always wounds non-vehicle models on a 2+. It ties with the Prehensile Tail as the cheapest tail. Its lack of AP makes it a weapon of debatable usefulness, especially on the Trygons where their Massive Scything Talons are better in almost every scenario. Worth considering on a Mawloc since its Strength value goes down as it gets hurt.
  • Wicked Spur: Found only on the Crone, this is essentially an AP-3 Bone Mace made airborne.

Scything Talons[edit]

For all your mantis-like killing needs.

  • Scything Talons: Your basic melee weapon found on just about anything that wants to be in hand-to-hand. Scything talons now allow a model to re-roll to hit rolls of 1 when attacking with this weapon (something they used to do back in 5th). In addition, if the model has more than one pair, they can make 1 additional attack with this weapon. Note: GW has rather uncharacteristically taken the wind out of the sails of the burgeoning RAW vs RAI battle before it really began and confirmed via FAQ that multiple sets of talons grant only +1 attack total, not +1 per set; this applies for all sizes of Scything Talons.
    • Monstrous Scything Talons: AKA scything talons XL. Found on Tyrants and the Carnifex. Same rules as above but AP-3, 3 Damage.
    • Massive Scything Talons: AKA scything talons XXL. Found on Tervigons, Maleceptor, Trygon, Trygon prime, AP-3, D6 Damage.
    • Gargantuan Scything Talons: Only available on the Hierophant. You lose the ability to re-roll your 1s to hit but they strike at a massive Sx2 (so, S20!), AP-5, D2D6. Ensuring any tank or titan you've charged is gonna have a really bad day.
    • Scything Wings: AKA Scything Talons for your flyers. Found on Harpies and Crones. AP-2, D3 Damage.
    • Sickle Claws: Dimachaeron's pride and joy, sporting S10 AP-2 and D3 Damage, but to hit roll of 6 pump it up to AP-4 and D6.
    • Grasping Talons: The Lictor's other weapon, these deal 2 Damage and AP-1. Don't go through armour as well, but against multi-wound low-armour models like Grotesques and Nobz, they're fantastic.
    • Grasping Talons and Thorax Spine-Maw: Yep, Dimachaeron's chest is now a weapon. S7 AP-2 D1, but against INFANTRY a to hit roll of 6 turns it into Sx2 D6 goodness.

Tentacle weapons Toxic Lashes The Venomthrope's means of protecting itself, they're CCWs with a re-roll to wound and D1d3. These also allow the beast to always go first in combat, even if it didn't charge.
Massive Toxic Lashes As above, only now at AP-2.

Ranged Weapons[edit]

Tyranids still maintain a wide selection of ranged weaponry, much of it now with improved range. It still suffers from terrible AP and makes up for it with volume of shots. Many weapons have a Normal version and then a Heavy/Upgraded/Massive variant that tends to have the same amount of shots but gain a couple of extra points of Strength and the potential for more damage.

Bio-Plasmic Weapons

The Hive Mind's answer to the Imperium's Plasma Weapons.

    • Bio-Plasma: Always rather meh for the price, it's now Assault d3 and S7 AP-3 for only 9 points. On the Carnifex, it's mutually exclusive with the Monstrous Acid Maw, Enhanced Senses, and Tusks, all of which are more useful in most cases.
    • Bio-Plasmic Cannon: The Exocrine's gun. It's got a similar statline as the basic Bio-Plasma, but with three times the range, Heavy 6, and does 2 Damage each hit.
    • Bio-Plasmic Scream: Exclusive to the Screamer-Killer. Assault d6, 18" range, and AP-4 make this a much better weapon overall than the standard Bio-Plasma and lets it soften things up before it charges.
Bio-electric Weapons

These use channeled shocks of electricity to annihilate enemies.

    • Bio-Electric Pulse: The Trygon's way of dealing with range, This is an Assault 6 S5 ranged weapon. Not good for killing by power, but by attrition.
    • Bio-electric Pulse with Containment Spines: The Trygon Prime equivalent. Now at Assault 12.
    • Shockcannon: The Hive Guard's anti-vehicle weapon. It's decent enough at S7 AP-1 d3 Damage, but if it rolls 4+ on Wound against a vehicle, it issues a Mortal Wound that coincidentally makes its low AP completely irrelevant. Roll a 6+, and that becomes d3 Mortal Wounds. Thanks to the change from small templates to D3 shots, this is now actually plenty scary against vehicles of any size.
    • Tentaclids: The Crone's big surprise. These Babies only have S5 to their name and a re-roll to hit flying units, but if they wound a vehicle on a 4+ it deals a Mortal Wound with a 6+ dealing d3 Mortal Wounds. Unlike before, these can actually be used again and again.
Choking Spores

More a distraction than anything. While it's only S3, the Assault d6 means that it has many odds to hit, and the ability to re-roll wounds to inflict d3 damage ensures it will hurt anything below MEQ. Its shining purpose however is the ability to remove any cover benefits from anyone these things attack.

Somebody get an image

Crystalized Venom Weapons

These weapons were described in previous codices as firing crystalized venom at speeds capable of piercing tank armor. They are a flexible option, found on many units.

    • Venom Cannon: In keeping with blast templates being removed, this once small blast gun is now Assault D3 and at 36" range counts as one of our few 'long range' guns. Received a boost in Strength from 6 to 8 making it fairly reliable at hurting VEHICLES and MONSTERS, but at only -2AP and d3 damage it might take a while to kill higher wound models if you're unlucky.
    • Heavy Venom Cannon: A bigger venom cannon for the MONSTERS. With an extra point of Strength and the ability to put down a flat 3 damage per shot, this thing should strip high Toughness models of their wounds quite reliably while posing a decent threat to light and medium vehicles.
      • Absolutely effective against Custodes, S9 means that you're wounding them on 3+, AP-2 is just enough for their Invul, and 3 Damage means that you insta-kill their Troops(and their Elites if you use Pathogenic Slime)
Living Ammunition Weapons

These weapons fire a variety of maggots, beetles, or worms that devour their victims from the inside. Yum!

    • Deathspitter: Even more deadly than Devourers, you get +1 Strength, -1AP and +6" of range for just 1 point more. Solid choice.
    • Deathspitter with Slimer Maggots: New on the scene for 8E. A bigger deathspitter with +2 Strength for the MONSTERS in the Tyranid force. Comes as a pair so puts out double the amount of shots. Unfortunately, its only real use is for popping transports and other light tanks. The Devourer with Brainleech Worms matches or outperforms it in almost all other circumstances. Weapon Comparison
    • Devourer: 3 shots, S4 with an 18" range that can still be fired while Advancing. Heavily overpriced with 4 points.
    • Devourer with Brainleech Worms: A bigger devourer with +2 Strength and double the shots for the MONSTERS in the Tyranid force. Comes as a pair so it puts out 12 shots. Two sets of these gives 24 shots, pretty good overall, made even better with the Pathogenic Slime strategem.
    • Fleshborer: The basic gun of the Termagant, an S4 pea-shooter. Since Termagants armed with these are the only ones a Tervigon may spawn, you'll want these for at least 10 of your squad.
    • Fleshborer Hive: The Tyrannofex's version, it's a Heavy 20 Fleshborer at S5. Has good synergies with stratagems, but the fact that you have to stand still and its extremely short range make it hard to pull off.
Rupture Cannon

A massive gun only fielded by the Tyrannofex. Used to be our only long range anti-armor gun (and that usefulness was hotly debated due to being only AP4). Has now become a 3 shot Lascannon but with S10 (and since Tyrannofexes shoot twice if they stand still, it can fire enough shots to trash all but the heaviest of tanks). Expensive, but worth it with the sheer damage it can provide.

Spine Weapons

these fire hardened spines of chitin to impale their enemies. They vary from the relatively short-ranged spine fist to the anti-vehicle Impaler Cannon.

    • Impaler Cannon: One of the Hive Guard's guns, it's basically a Heavy 2 missile launcher (with 36" range), S8 AP-2 and D3 damage, that does not need line of sight and does not allow cover bonuses to the armor save. Perfect for cleaning out an armored objective camper.
    • Spike Rifle: Another Termie weapon, this trades off 1 Strength for a slightly better range. Not worth taking - especially that you can take only 1 per 10 gaunt (What *were* they thinking?). No rules in the Codex, but still available with the Index rules.
    • Spine Banks: Unique to the Carnifex and the Thornback. 6" Assault 4. S5 and no AP is lackluster, but like a pistol it can be fired into melee- and unlike pistols, it can be fired at units that are locked in melee with another unit. Unfortunately, you can't take it without giving up the option for Spore Cysts, so don't bother on regular Carnifexes.
    • Spinefists: One of two weapons that are now classed as Pistol. In this case, it's a 12" Pistol that can fire as many shots as the wielding model has Attacks. The ability to fire these weapons in the shooting phase while in combat might make these an interesting choice on Tyranid Warriors, since it lets them get a few extra hits in before the Fight phase begins. Also interesting for Raveners, as this lets them spew out 4 shots no matter where they are.
    • Spinemaws: An upgrade for the Ripper Swarm which has had a downgrade in Strength, making it a bit pony. A very short range Pistol 4 with 2 Strength. Presumably designed to give the Rippers something to do in their shooting phase. Odds are it won't actually hurt anything, but it adds some weight of damage when these guys get stuck in and, with 8th edition wounding rules, makes for a shocking amount of harassment against tanks (given they're just as likely to wound a Predator as they are to wound the Marine standing next to it).
    • Stinger Salvo: The Harpy's/Tervigon's/Tyrannofex's gun, it's Assault 4 with S5 AP-1. Decent enough against small things. Funny on the Tyrannofex when he gets to shoot it twice.
Spore Mine Launcher

The Biovore's Pride and Joy. It has an impressively big range, and it almost always does something. On a failed hit it instead drops a Spore Mine nearby that has to wait a turn before moving, but doesn't cost reinforcement points to generate (in Matched Play, this is one of the only ways to generate units mid-battle without paying for them in advance). On a 1 to wound does nothing and on a 2+ it does a Mortal Wound, but on a 6+ it deals d3 Mortal Wounds. Went from a horde killer to a pinpoint wound remover, and one of the few weapons capable of consistently inflicting mortal wounds at long range regardless of its target.

Spray Weapons

This Covers a wide variety of short range weapons that auto-hit their opponents. Flavors come in Acid, More Acid, and fire.

    • Acid Spray: The equivalent of a Flamer with 2D6 attacks and deals D3 Damage and AP-1. Tyrannofexes can use this for burning down multi-wound models and are pretty good anti-Flyers
    • Bio-Acid Spray: The main ranged weapon of the Scythed Heirodule. A 2d6 flamer with S6, AP-2 and D3 damage per hit.
    • Drool Cannon: Another Flamer-like with Assault d6, but at S6, AP-1 and D1. This allows a Hive Crone to hurt lightly-armored things, but little else.
    • Flamespurt: The Pyrovore's reason to exist. It's like a Drool Cannon but with slightly better range and slightly weaker Strength. Interestingly, it has precisely enough range to fire after getting out of a Tyrannocyte. Probably not a coincidence.
Strangler Weapons

these weapons fire explosive seeds that rapidly spread out and strangle their victims to death. They gain +1 to hit against units with 10 or more models.

    • Barbed Strangler: Assault D6, Strength 5 and -1 AP for 10 points. Costs 5 points more than Deathspitters for 0,5 more shots on average and +12" range.
    • Stranglethorn cannon: A bigger Barbed Strangler with +2 Strength for the MONSTERs in the Tyranid force. Keeps the above +1 to hit rule and also inflicts 1 more damage. Kills light Infantry more efficiently than the HVC. Combine with Enhanced Senses and laugh at the look on your opponent's face as a Carnifex hits on a 2+.
    • Strangleweb: 8" range, assault d3 and S2. Only 1 of 10 termagants can have one of those
Tentacle weapons these weapons cover an assortment of short range weapons designed to hook onto or grab prey at close range.
    • Flesh Hooks: Though they are considered Assault weapons, these are weapons useful for close range firing, as they can be shot within 1" of an enemy and into other melees, just like a Pistol. This are basically Pistols+1, combining all the close range effectiveness of Pistols with the Advance-and-shoot goodness of Assault weapons. Unfortunately still don't allow a model/unit to mantle over impassible terrain or vertical surfaces like they should.
    • Grasping Tongue: The Haruspex's creepy hentai tongue. It's rather fierce at S6 AP-3 and d3 damage, it gains further use since it can be used within close range and regains a wound if it kills something, so it can add to survivability.
    • Toxic Lashes: Essentially a CCW with Assault 2 and S2. It can fire within 1" of an enemy and re-rolls to wound.
    • Massive Toxic Lashes: The Toxicrene's version, now with Assault d6 AP-1 and d3 damage.
Grasping Tongue
alt text


  • Adrenal Glands: Adds 1" to the distance the model/unit can move when it advances and/or charges. This is amazing, especially when combined with Onslaught, as the target model can benefit from it on both the advance and the charge for peanuts per model (a measly 1 point for non-monsters, and only 5 points otherwise). Combine with Kraken and movement boosting Stratagems, and that seemingly small bonus can make a big difference; relevant Stratagems include Metabolic Overdrive (which won't stack with Onslaught or allow charging), Overrun, and Opportunistic Advance (which is Kraken only). Obviously, also combines well with the Swarmlord.
  • Toxin Sacs: Wound rolls of 6+ by the model/unit in the Fight phase cause 1 additional Damage. Use on models with low Strength. Situationally useful, but good synergy with wargear, like rending claws, which activates on the same condition, and obviously best used against multiwound models like terminators or, weirdly, vehicles, since they don't have keyword restrictions on what they hurt. Best when paired with Gorgon for its access to Hyper-Toxicity.


  • Chitin Thorns: Carnifexes and Thornbacks only, and mandatory on the latter. On a 6+, enemy units within 1" of the user at the end of the Fight phase take a mortal wound. Only costs 5 points, but doesn't do enough to justify that. Maybe if it was models it could be good, but right now just skip it.
  • Enhanced Senses: Standard and Thornbacks can take this, but on the former, mutually exclusive with Tusks and two of the weapons (the maw or the bio-plasma). Boosts BS to 3+. An absolute must-have for any self-respecting Dakkafex, although the acid maw might still be worth considering if you suspect that your Dakkafex may be forced into melee and don't want to risk being caught with only the generic CCW.
  • Spore Cysts: Carnifexes and Screamer-Killers only, mutually exclusive with the spine banks. Imposes a -1 penalty to hit with ranged attacks against the user. It won't stack with Venomthropes, so it's like having a portable, built-in Venomthrope unit that frees up your actual Venomthropes to buff something else. Expensive at 10 points, but better than the spine banks, for certain.
  • Tusks: Carnifexes only; mutually exclusive with Enhanced Senses, Monstrous acid maw, and bio-plasma. On the turn you charge, you gain +1A. Great on any melee built Carnifex, because it won't have guns for Enhanced Senses to boost and unless you plan to go up against a fuckton of heavily armored units you probably won't benefit from taking the Monstrous Acid Maw.

Bio-Artefacts (Relics)[edit]


  • Miasma Cannon: Replaces a heavy venom cannon. Compared to the heavy venom cannon, it gains the ability to auto-hit anything within 8", and always wounds non-vehicles on a 2+.
    • Effectively Hive Tyrant only, as it's the only character that can take a venom cannon to start with, and should always be paired with Wings so you can get into auto-hitting range faster.
    • Better than the basic version against T5+ non-vehicles, and of course against anything within 8", but not nearly as good as a Venomthorn Parasite in general, due to the Hive Tyrant's already good BS and the fact that the Venomthorn is like a *1.5 multiplier, which would require at least a T10 target for this to meet or a T18 one to beat, and good luck finding those. Don't take this unless you've already handed out a Venomthorn.
  • Reaper of Obliterax: Replaces a lash whip and bonesword or the monstrous version. Same stats as the normal one, but on a wound roll of 6+ it doubles its damage. With Toxin Sacs on the monstrous version, that's a whopping 7.
    • Because this upgrades a weapon that isn't free, cost matters, but the strength of the underlying weapon really doesn't, since the special ability triggers only when you're definitely wounding regardless of strength. As a result, this is actually best on a Behemoth Warlord (for more damage) or Gorgon (for more reliability) Tyranid Prime; the difference is clearest in the Behemoth case, where you're spending 102 points minimum on WS2+ A4 S5 AP-2 D1, increasing to D4 on 6s, as opposed to 158 minimum on WS2+ A4 S6 AP-2 D3, increasing to D8 on 6s.
      • Note on calculating damage: Because of the order of operation, the damage is first multiplied. After that, you add the extra damage. So you are 'just' dealing 8 damage at max. Nevertheless, if you want something dead, use Adrenaline Surge for attacking a second time or Voracious Appetite to increase the chance of dealing high damage.
      • Just an idea: Give this to a winged Hive Tyrant with adrenal glands, toxin sacs and the Behemoth-Warlord Trait. You get a high chance for a Turn 1 Charge and the opportunity to kill the enemies bigger threats - for example a Land Raider or ,if you're lucky, a superheavy
  • Ymgarl Factor: It's back! at the beginning of each fight phase, randomly gain +1T, +1A, or +1S. The stat returns to normal after the fight phase.
    • Generally not worth it, due to its random nature and the fact that it only last a fight phase - you have only a 2/3 chance of rolling a stat that might help you kill things better in melee, and if you roll strength, it might do nothing at all.
      • This and the Norn Crown are the two Relics that don't require any existing equipment. If your warlord has an odd loadout, or is a Zoan, this can be a good Relic just because of a lack of better choices.
  • Maw Claws of Thyrax: Enhances a model equipped with rending claws or monstrous rending claws. If you slay a model in the fight phase, you can re-roll all failed to-hit rolls in melee for the rest of the game.
    • Because monstrous rending claws are cheaper than rending claws, absolutely superb on a Hive Tyrant. (An odd statement given that MoRCs are only available to Broodlords & Tyrants which are considerably more expensive than a Prime + RCs, lol, but the point stands.)
    • Overkill on a Broodlord, rerolling ones only after a successful fight is not worth.
  • Norn Crown: Models within 30" do not suffer the penalties from Instinctive Behaviour. Probably the weakest choice here, but could be useful if you don't plan on using many synapse units (e.g. you run Hydra and want to save your Troops slots for more Gaunts).
    • Note that it doesn't grant immunity to morale, like synapse would, so really only useful on units that have no moral issues (like single model monster units). Main value is if you need to space out your giant ranged bugs, but don't want to take penalties when shooting at further targets. The Tyrannofex's rupture cannon, for example, has 48" of range, but he's only BS5+ if he's not in synapse and not targeting the closest unit.

Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal[edit]

  • Resonance Barb: Psyker only. This model can manifest an additional power per turn and deny an extra power. Also, when you take a psychic test, add 1 to the total. Arguably, the best relic for Tyranids flat. Put on a Hive Tyrant and combine with Power of the Hive Mind and Synaptic Channeling to get a quad casting threat with access to the entire psychic school plus their hive fleet power.
    • Neurothropes get more mileage out of the Resonance Barb than a Hive Tyrant. All Tyranid Psychic powers other than Unstoppable Hunger are WC 5 or 6. With the +1 to cast from the Resonance Barb, if you failed a WC 5 Psychic Test, you rolled at least a single 1 (You can't get 3 or less between two dice without rolling a 1). Similarly, if you failed a WC 6 test with the Resonance Barb, 83.33% of the time you have rolled at least a single 1. I mention this because Neurothropes have an aura that allows you to re-roll 1's on Psychic Tests, something a Hive Tyrant doesn't get. It almost is equivalent to a re-roll on Tyranid Psychic tests. Oh, on top of this, Neurothropes can heal themselves or other Zoanthropes via Smite damage, and this +1 to cast makes you more likely to hit that tasty D6 damage on Smite, which means the chance of healing more is higher. Lastly, unlike a Hive Tyrant, a Neurothrope has low enough wounds to not get railed by shooting the turn after it drops in, and it also has a good enough invulnerable save to survive the inevitable sniper fire it will attract. All-in-all, it's a better option for a Neurothrope than it is for a Hive Tyrant.
      • On the other hand, Neurothropes only know smite plus one psychic power, and can already cast two per turn. The plus one to the psychic test and extra deny is useful, but the extra cast will be wasted every turn unless you pop the new Synaptic Channelling stratagem.
  • Pathogenesis: Add 8" to the range of the user's ranged weapons, and it can re-roll a single hit and wound when shooting or firing Overwatch. The Dakkatyrant's new best friend. (alternate option, use it on a tyranid prime or trygon prime to almost double his threat range, well only if you don't have other options to spend a relic)
  • Xenogenic Acid: Replaces a model’s toxin sacs. When you make a melee attack, unmodified wound rolls of 5+ inflict an extra mortal wound on top of other damage. It's truly a shame that the Broodlord can't take this because he would murder anything with his 6 attacks that reroll to wound, but we're not space marines so we don't get nice things.
  • The Venomthorn Parasite: Upgrades a stranglethorn cannon or heavy venom cannon. When you shoot the cannon, it always does its maximum number of shots
  • Arachnacyte Gland: Replaces adrenal glands. When you make a charge roll for this model, roll an extra D6 and discard the lowest die. Also, you get +1 to your Advance rolls. Pairs well with Trygon Prime that needs to make that charge out of deep strike.

Hive Fleet-Specific[edit]

  • Kronos - Balethorn Cannon: Replaces a stranglethorn cannon. Identical to the standard version, save for one very important difference - it ignores all invulnerable saves. While that won't affect TEQs too much since they still get a 3+ from their armor, anything whose invuln save is at least as good as its armour save will definitely notice, especially Tzeentch daemons. That said, this is functionally a 25 point Hive Tyrant only gun which is always in direct competition with the Miasma Cannon, so it's best to take it against things that will definitely notice losing their invulnerable saves- in addition to the aforementioned Tzeentch daemons, Harlequins and IG with slabshield Bullgryn and Crusaders are good choices to use this on.
  • Hydra - Slimer Maggot Infestation: Replaces two deathspitters with slimer maggots. Gains the ability to re-roll failed wound rolls. Nice on a dakkatyrant, but it's a shame Hydra relies more on flooding the board with Gaunts than it does on shooting things.
  • Gorgon - Hyper-Adaptive Biology: After the end of the first phase in which the bearer suffers a wound, the bearer gets +1T for the rest of the battle. Could work well when paired with the Adaptive Biology Warlord Trait if you have a way to live through that one phase, which is the same problem the Trait has.
  • Behemoth - Scythes of Tyran: Replaces a pair of Monstrous Scything Talons. It gains +1S and +1A, and To-Hit rolls of 6+ generate another attack but loses its rerolls of 1. This means they're functionally the same as the stock pair of Monstrous Sything Talons (1/6 chance of extra attack instead of 1/6 chance of reroll) with +1 Strength, which really only makes a difference against T6 and T7. The Scythes are a little more bursty with their damage, with a small chance of dealing 6+ wounds ina single Fight phase. The real selling point of these is that it only eats up one weapon slot, allowing you to have a bit of shooting, or double down on attacks with a pair of boneswords or monstrous rending claws.
  • Leviathan - Slayer Sabres: Replaces monstrous boneswords. Same stats, but if it wounds an Infantry or Biker model that is still alive at the end of the fight phase, roll 1d3. If the roll exceeds the model's remaining wound count, it is instantly slain. It's only really useful against exactly 4 or 5 wound models of unit types which rarely have that number, but becomes much more useful against armies with widespread access to FnP equivalents (read: anything related to Nurgle), which are more likely to survive being wounded.
    • Alternative take: What people don’t realise is that these swords are meant for duelling, hell the Implant Attack stratagem might as well have been made for this relic - the generic HQs of other armies actually do typically have 4/5 wounds, and the average of D3 is 2. 3 Damage means 1 unsaved wound and that captain is down to 2 wounds, Implant Attack for another mortal wound leaving them with 1, so on average they die from the Sabres’ ability. If you’re lucky on the D3 roll or get a toxinsac attack through or both you can oneshot 6/7 wound characters as well. That said this use is somewhat niche but they aren’t quite as bad as they seem at first glance.
  • Kraken - Chameleonic Mutation: Opponent takes a -1 to hit rolls when shooting ranged weapons at this model. Always good on your monsters, and it stacks with Venomthropes' Shrouding Spores or Malanthropes; one possible way to help keep your Hive Tyrant (or Tervigon) alive. Also stacks with The Horror. Not useful against Space Marines (effectively against half of all existing armies...), because they presumeably will bring their new Oculus Marine thingies, what ignores any covers and any penalties to hit.
  • Jormungandr - Infrasonic Roar: Monster only. Enemy units within 6" of this model must subtract 1 from LD. Could be good if you want to use Psychic Scream a lot, otherwise meh; the real shame is the type requirement, effectively restricting it to winged Hive Tyrants or Trygon Primes, due to its very low range.

Unit Analysis[edit]

Due to the 2018 C.A. update, most things got a significant point reduction (or a peripheral point reduction in the form of reduced cost for both types of Venom Cannon) which makes taking multiple battalions or a brigade detachment easy.

HQ Units[edit]

Oi, ready to die,

An old but well-remembered unit makes its reappearance. Way back in 4th edition, the broodlord was introduced as a cheap alternative to the expensive Hive Tyrant. However, the 5th and 6th edition codices said "screw that", and made it into the equivalent of a genestealer sergeant. Now, the Broodlord is back with a vengeance, and ready to get back to what he does best: ripping marines in half. And damn boi, he is good at it.

  • Like his smaller kin, he has a 5++ invulnerable save, and can both advance and charge in the same turn. With a base move of 8", that means this guy's average threat range is a staggering 19.5", and can be further boosted by taking the Kraken or Behemoth Hive Fleet Adaptations. Your opponent had better avoid setting up on the 24" line!
  • As a level 1 Psyker, he knows Smite and one other power from the Hive Mind Discipline. He can attempt to cast and deny one power a turn. In addition, the Broodlord has gained Synapse (no more needs casting Dominion) and Shadow in the Warp.
  • Any friendly Genestealer unit within 6" of this fellow gets to add 1 to hit in the Fight phase. That is, if he hasn't already murdered everything around him with his 6 monstrous rending claw attacks that also re-roll to wound.
  • As a CHARACTER model with "just" 6 wounds, he can't be targeted by enemy shooting unless he's the closest target, so make sure he's with some buddies. (Except when you face a Deathwatch player, who will happily pay 2 CP for shooting through your genestealers to kill the Broodlord.)
  • He's also INFANTRY, so take the opportunity to boost his 4+ save with some terrain.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)
Hive Tyrant
Classic 'nid poster boi

Hive Tyrant is the original Tyranid HQ unit and has remained through every incarnation of the codex. While the Tyrant's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, make no mistake that this unit can get shit done if used correctly. The current version is an extremely customizable unit that can excel in the shooting, psychic, and melee phases. Furthermore, his 18" synapse radius and access to psychic powers makes him an exceptional anchor for your army. However, any opponent with an ounce of experience knows to target the Tyrant first, so it will draw fire.

  • Defensively, the Tyrant is stacked with a toughness of 7, 12 wounds, a 3+ save and a minty fresh 4++. This can be further enhanced with Hive Fleet Adaptions, warlord traits, and wargear. However, it also has degrading scores for Movement, WS, and BS, and most critically, can be picked out by enemies even if it is not the closest unit.
  • He's a Psyker and can cast two powers a turn and deny one as well as knowing Smite and 2 powers from the Hive Mind Discipline).
  • Winged tyrants deserve a special mention for the options they bring to the table. With a movement speed of 16" while undamaged, they are extremely fast and can bring pressure exactly where it is needed. In addition, winged tyrants can execute a powerful alpha strike via a deep strike or Fall Back and still shoot thanks to the FLY keyword. (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)
  • Dakka'rant: This venerable build is not quite what it used to be. The Deathspitters are a waste of your time - there's nothing they'll excel at killing for their points - and, unfortunately, so is the stranglethorn, which is better than Deathspitters, but not by enough to matter. Instead, you should be looking at either quadruple Devourers, which gets you a whopping 24 shots at S6, or a Heavy Venom Cannon to replace two of the Devourers, for hunting enemy heavies.
  • Melee tyrant
    • Ignore his "default" loadout; his free melee weapon choice is monstrous rending claws, not monstrous scything talons, which cost as much as lash whip and monstrous bonesword at 15, or you can take the really expensive option of a pair of monstrous boneswords for 20(don't). The claws are easily his best melee weapon available, not only due to their cost, but because they re-roll all failed wounds; if you want to spend points on upping his melee, buy him toxin sacs to with his claws, but his other weapon should always be a gun to make sure he has something to do before he gets stuck in.
    • If you insist on double melee, he can take two sets of talons for 20 points total (which will give you 5 attacks with them), which is strictly better than talons and boneswords; rending claws or lash whips and boneswords can both be paired with a pair of boneswords, giving you 4 attacks with the better weapon and 1 with the boneswords pair, but your points efficiency will be garbage at that point, except against multi-wound targets with T6 and higher (with regards to the rending claws/bonesword combo specifically) If you’re fine with points inefficiency however (or say you’re using power levels) you can get up to 6 attacks base if you take a pair of monstrous scything talons and use them as the Scythes of Tyran relic, and then take a pair of monstrous boneswords, for 5 S7 AP-3 D3 attacks with even MORE attacks on 6+ to hit and 1 S6 AP-2 D3 attack (and also a tail attack), making this the strongest melee tyrant you can build. With toxin sacs, this tyrant actually outperforms the Swarmlord against T5/6. You can also make a 'budget' Swarmlord by taking two pairs of monstrous boneswords and making one of them the Slayer Sabres for 6 S6 AP-2 D3 attacks.
  • Balanced Tyrant: In general, a balanced loadout with one close combat and one ranged option looks to be the early approach on how to build a Tyrant. Adrenal Glands for advance and charge bonuses is a must, Toxin Sacs synergises nicely with Monstrous Rending Claws which are a free and effective close combat option, and a pair of Devourers with Brainleech Worms are great horde mulchers, or a Heavy Venom Cannon against heavies.
A lot less insidious than he looks.

Moved to HQ (again), but still can be taken in broods of 3, is still a synapse creature, and still has the Venomthrope's ability to debuff the to-hit chance of enemies, which works on all units rather than just INFANTRY (FAQ confirms this benefit is conferred to units with a model in range like the old Shrouded rule). Being a character with 9 wounds now means it's harder to hit than ever before, and while it can only use a grasping tail to attack its ability to cause mortal wounds on a 4+ means most foes won't try to engage it in melee in the first place. And any time the last model in a unit is slain with the Malanthrope 1" away, all units with the same <HIVE FLEET> keyword re-roll 1s to hit against any model that shares the Faction keywords of the slain enemy. As a result, you can gain re-rolls against every Imperial army just by killing off a Guardsman near it. Use against the jackass who thinks his <WU-TANG CLAN> Taudar army is hot shit.

  • Malanthropes are great babysitters for backfield artillery units like Exocrines, Biovores, and Tyrannofexes with Rupture Cannons. Their slow speed isn't a factor and the protection they offer is much appreciated.
  • On the other hand, even an assault army can benefit from it quite a bit, the -1 to be hit in the first turn allows you to worry a bit less of how you set a unit of hormagaunts or genestealers as long as you babysit them with a Malanthrope (see daisy chain)
    • While using them to babysit your backfield is a perfectly viable strategy for these things, you will get more out of them if used more aggressively to support your frontlines. While Malanthropes are well priced, Synapse and -1 to hit is a bit of waste for the points if it's only being applied to a couple of backline gunbeasts, particularly given that the sort of single shot weapons that will be blasting big holes in them are the perfect home for shooting phase CP rerolls. On the other hand, that kind of support is invaluable for your big squads of Stealers and Gaunts where -1 to hit will likely reduce their incoming damage by 25 or 33% depending upon your opponent's BS, and getting up close and personal makes it that much more likely that you'll get to actually capitalise on the Malanthrope's other abilities. The issue of course is keeping up with them; consider using the Metabolic Overdrive stratagem to effectively double their speed.
  • Malanthrope became a bit least perfect unit, since Chapter Approved changed it's point value from 90 to 140. Ouch. That's 55% price rising.

Shifted to HQ, but otherwise still a bigger, nastier Zoanthrope for all intents and purposes. It retains the ability to heal itself and nearby Zoanthropes with Spirit Leech, but only for 1 wound. It also allows nearby Zoanthropes (and itself) to re-roll 1s on psychic tests.

  • Strangely, it can cast 2 powers but only knows 1 in addition to Smite, basically forcing it to be a Smite spammer.
  • Consider making this thing your Warlord; they have a nice invulnerable save and few enough wounds that they can reliably hide behind a screen of other nids. Adaptive Biology is a relatively solid choice for the Warlord Trait; not only can you turn it on yourself via Perils, you can regenerate the wound you lose to turn it on via Smite.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)
A fellow fa/tg/uy hissing at his Mum for coming into the basement without tendies

Though no longer able to cheese out by becoming a Troops Choice, it still remains an incredibly useful resource. Use the Termagants in order to shield it, as it has a degrading Movement, BS, and WS, and if it dies, nearby friendly <HIVE FLEET> Termies eat d6 Mortal Wounds. In other words, stick to few big units to mitigate the backlash. Unfortunately, its gun is pretty terrible for the cost, and it can't hide behind the Termagants it's supposed to be babysitting, so it's usually not a great idea - it'll just evaporate in short order to incoming lascannons. Instead, consider a Neurothrope with Onslaught or Catalyst, if you want Termagant support.

  • The bitch has quite a lot of wounds, can take Chameleonic Mutation for -1 to hit, and she'll probably die not earlier than 2-3 rounds. That's a whole squad of Termies that can fill the cracks formed in your 1st locust wave. I'd say it's worth the points if your shock troops can get stuck in.
  • Friendly <HIVE FLEET> Termagants within range re-roll hit rolls of 1 when shooting, which is fantastic with the amount of shots a big blob of them pumps out.
  • It's a Level 1 Psyker that can cast or deny one power a turn and knows one power from the Hive Mind Discipline. Consider Catalyst to make that blob of Termagants more durable.
  • It can spawn a new clutch of 10 Termagants (which will cost you reinforcement points) or reinforce an existing mob within range (which won't), but these models can only use Fleshborers (in the latter case, only lost Termagants with Fleshborers can be returned). This will kill any incentive to use anything else if you buy one. However, since Termagants can mix and match weapons, you can take a unit with 10 ablative Fleshborers and 20 Devourers for actually hurting the enemy - bringing multiple Tervigons to replenish the same unit is legal, but a really bad idea.
  • Just remember that most of the time it’s worth taking the Tervigon’s point value in Termagants rather than a Tervigon; she costs 180pts after CA 2019, which can get you a Termagant brood with 15 Devourers and 15 Fleshborers.
  • All in all, the Tervigon is kind of useless in this edition. She has too many wounds to hide behind the little bugs she produces, you have to pay reinforcement points for a new group of maximum ten termagant - why don't you just buy and bring 'em? - and she will cause a fucklot of mortal wounds to her babies, if she dies. What probably happens in the enemies' first shooting phase.
  • With a new point drop in CA 2019 and the rules from Psychic Awakening, she might actually have a purpose now. You can give her the Dermic Symbiosis ability for a 5++ save and slowed stat degradation, which helps her not explode on turn 1. Walk her up the board with her babies and she might be able to draw anti-tank fire from your other monsters.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2019)
Tyranid Prime
Bigger than a warrior, smaller than a tyrant, and just as hangry

The other INFANTRY Tyranid HQ. It's still rather pricey, and it's still got the Warrior's share of weapons (except for the Bio-cannons, which it doesn't know how to carry). Unlike before, though, this has a use with other Warriors, as it adds +1 to Hit rolls for nearby Warriors and Shrikes (if you use the Index) of the same <HIVE FLEET>. Plonk down next to a blob of Deathspitter-Warriors and watch them shoot things to death or plonk him down in the middle of a blob of Bonesword-Warriors and watch them shred. Because +1 to hit has a larger impact the worse the stat it buffs, this means his net impact is usually more felt when used for ranged support than melee support (although he can do both). Also, note that because he doesn't buff himself and carries worse weapons, once he's inside a Warrior blob, he's usually the least useful unit in it, as he buffs Warriors up to matching his own accuracy.

  • Math-wise: Everything may vary based on the equipment and if you prefer a versatile character or more wounds, but generally, if you plan to take a lot of warriors, Prime buff is price-effective for around 7 warriors (7 warriors+prime > 12 warriors)
  • CA 2019 reduced the cost of Warriors by 2pts per model to a total of 18. 12 Warriors with Deathspitters fire 36 shots and hit with 18; this will cost you 23pts per model or 25pts with boneswords for a total of 300pts. For the same number of points, 9 Warriors and a Prime all with Deathspitters and boneswords fire 30 shots and hit with 20. This doesn't account for any bio-cannons you may have snuck into your Warrior units, but obviously you want those expensive guns to hit. If you're running lots of Warriors and have HQ slots to fill, a Prime isn't a bad choice, though keep in mind that keeping 9 Warriors within the Prime's bubble limits the units' mobility somewhat (only one model from the unit of warriors is required to be in range of the ability for the buff to apply).
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Special Characters[edit]

Old One Eye
Who needs two eyes if you only charge in one direction?

This bastard got more focused on smashing now, and with his regeneration of 1 wound on each of your turns, he worries a lot less about damage, expecially since he's got 9 wounds, so that he is able to hide behind other units! A great buffer piece for a Carnifex-heavy army.

  • Charging gives him a 4+ chance to deal d3 Mortal Wounds to whatever he gets into melee with, and adds +1 to his hit rolls on the first turn of charge. On top of that, for any hit roll of 6+, he gains an extra attack with the same weapon (tail excluded). With its charge bonus and Alpha Leader rule, effectively giving him +2, that means on a roll of 4 or more he gets an extra attack, multiplying his attacks (outside of debuffs) by 1.5 with his talons (7.3 total on average, after accuracy), or by 1.33 with his claws (5.5, after accuracy). Yummy.
  • Nearby friendly <HIVE FLEET> CARNIFEX gain +1 to hit in melee, including himself, making him a natural leader for a crew, and meaning he usually hits on a 2+, even with his claws.
  • If he's your Warlord, he has to have Adaptive Biology, which is particularly nice for synergy with his regeneration, making him incredibly hard to kill.
  • He's obviously bad under Kronos or Hydra, and pretty bad under Jormungandr, but Gorgon, Kraken, and Behemoth all make him better at his job, and Leviathan heaps even more durability on him, if you didn't bring Catalyst along.

The Swarmlord
How does one design a Tyranid? Take an old one, add 100% swords, 200% Size and 99999% the price!

The Biggest Beast with a Beastly Pricetag. He's still the boss for combat with his Bone Sabres and a Pincer tail, but his Movement, Strength, and Attack scores will decrease as he takes damage, and if he dies, he has a chance to deal d3 Mortal Wounds to all nearby units. Maximum combat damage output is 27 wounds, meaning the Swarmlord is capable of decking an Imperial Knight in a single round of combat (though statistically unlikely), taking into account damage from the Swarmlord’s level 2 psychic abilities. Expect to see many, if not most, Nid armies with him as warlord.

  • He's stacked with a 4++ (upped to 3++ in melee), something he was missing last edition, and can really be felt (on average 15.43 astartes lascannon shots are required to kill him [same for other hive tyrants]).
  • He can grant a nearby unit the ability to move and/or advance during his shooting phase as if it was the movement phase, which is incredibly awesome to have for a choppy army. Remember he only affects one unit with this, so make sure it's a big unit, and combine it with Onslaught to allow shooting or charging without penalties. If the Swarmlord Hive Commanders and Onslaughts himself, his total charge threat range is, on average, a whopping 33"!
    • This does not mean he should run off on his own and get himself shot to death. His place should be with the rest of you army, providing that sweet synapse and psychic powers, all this while launching hormagaunts, carnifexes and genestealers units at the enemy.
  • He's a Level 2 Psyker (meaning he can cast or deny 2 powers a turn as well as learning Smite and 2 powers from the Hive Mind Discipline) with an 18" range for Synapse and Shadow, like all Hive Tyrants, except for the improved Deny.
  • He has two weaknesses to be aware of. Annoyingly enough, he doesn't have any kind of AoE re-roll buff, which most characters have this edition, not even anything like the scything talon hit or rending claw wound re-rolls that normal tyrants can get. This makes his damage output somewhat unreliable despite being probably the best single-model melee unit in the codex. As such care should be taken when engaging units with Hit debuffs or high toughness, particularly if said units are also strong in melee (knights, primarchs etc.), but also in cases where they aren't, as if he charges a tank and fails to kill it the enemy will likely fall back and blast him to pieces next turn (actually, the latter is probably even more likely to happen if he does kill it). Secondly like the other Hive Tyrants he has 12 wounds, so the enemy can always choose to shoot him, and being stuck footslogging that is not good news if the enemy is aiming all their guns at him (not when we're strangers to that special, but guarranteed scenario). Though you really should have either Tyrant guard or extremely high threat saturation (you are playing Tyranids after all) to combat this.
  • Avoid sending him up against Guilliman before he has died for the first time. Mathematically the Primarch has a huge edge on the tabletop - he hits and wounds on the same numbers but can re-roll both, has a better chance for a lot of mortal wounds, and doesn't degrade. You need lucky rolls to kill him before getting drowned in mortal wounds, or worse maimed down to your last set of stats, at which point you have very little chance of winning. Watching in frustration as your expensive beatstick flails around with 4 S6 attacks and a tail attack, with no re-rolls against T6 2+/3++, is not fun.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)


Yeah, Genestealers and the 'Nids are pretty much bros

One of the best troop choice for Tyranids, and maybe even in the game, with a shiny 5++ invulnerable. They are no longer infiltrators, so they now set up with the rest of your army. To help with this, they can now advance and charge in the same turn. With a base move of 8", that means they have an impressively long maximum threat range of 26" (average 21.5"). But remember they are less glass cannons and more laser scalpels duct-taped to a pencil and are very much like Howling Banshees in that they are going to be shot at A LOT, and are likely to be wiped out after the first use. While craftworld Eldar get to enjoy their cozy Wave Serpents (though on the other hand you can actually kill things, instead of just being tarpits) you have to use other tricks and even with a proper deployment you still can lose a lot on overwatch, especially against flamers/heavy flamers. Learn your lesson, charge monsters first.

  • Don't leave them footslogging, even if you have 90 genestealers on the board it is still a bad idea. Infestation Nodes are your saving grace, as well as strategems. If you are feeling crazy enough you can even take a Tyrannocyte.
  • Can take free Scything Talons as well if they wish. Adds a bit of flexibility against unarmoured opponents as they can re-roll 1s to hit; combined with the Broodlord ability. This means means they are hitting on 2s re-roll 1s for maximum dismemberment.
  • If 3 attacks (4 if the unit is 10 or more strong) at -1 AP with rending AP -4 on a 6+ to wound isn't enough you could always buy them toxin sacs to make those 6s also cause 2 damage. But at 4 points a model that could get pricey. DO THIS against TEQ and keep a pocket unit of exactly 10 hidden in the nodes to slay unsuspecting heavies that though they were tough enough to leave their deployment zone.
  • One in 4 can take an Acid Maw for no cost, which is ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING, allowing the 'stealer to dish out power sword hits at no additional cost. Also, one in 4 can pay for flesh hooks.
  • If you can swing the points and elites slot for it, and for the memes, it might be worth investing in their culty brethren for one simple reason, transports.
  • For 2 extra points, Extended Carapace causes them to lose their ability to advance and then charge, but will also give them a shiny 4+ armour save. Fortunately, Stratagems can compensate for the drop in mobility. With Jormagundr's Hive Fleet Adaptation, they'll have MEQ-tier saves at all times, not to mention access to a potent subterranean deep strike stratagem for advantageous positioning. Stack this with the Adaptive Physiology : Dynamic Camouflage and you can give 20-40 Stealers fucking Terminator-level saves (T4, 2+, 5++).
  • They absolutely love Kraken's Hive Fleet Adaptation- not only does it let them make the most of their ability to advance and charge in the same turn, the ability to Fall Back and then charge lets them escape from hard-hitting melee units that have the potential to curbstomp them if they get the first swing in (e.g. A Space Marine with double chainswords can really fuck you up). With the Stratagems they can reach truly ludicrous speeds, as in faster than a Stormraven.
  • Instead of deploying normally, up to 4 Infestation Nodes can be placed in your deployment zone. Genestealers can deep strike within 6" of any of these nodes, but like the Terminators' Teleport Homer the node will be destroyed if an enemy gets too close.
  • These old-skool space hulk trippin' TDA-shreddin' classics absolutely adore the new Blood of Baal "Senses of the Outer Dark" fleet adaption giving them a FNP4+ to all overwatch damage, especially when stuffed into a Tyrannocyte or being the recipients of Catalyst. Don't overlook the new stuff! Adrenal Webs is also a fantastic unit adaption, because nothing wipes the smirk from a Tau player's face when he thinks that his units are safe and your 'Stealers consolidate 2D6" up his rectum back-line into a unit over 3" away, totally bypassing overwatch and their FTGG ability.
'Lil mantis friends

These little murder machines are fast and cheap and all around fantastic. Their movement stat is a staggering 8" and their Bounding Leap allows them to pile in and consolidate up to 6", making them very fast. Additionally their talons let them re-roll Hit rolls of 1 and if they're in the numbers you should be fielding them they also re-roll 1s To Wound for good measure, and all that with 2 attacks for each bug. Yikes. Play units of 30 and shove them across the board. Keep your paws off those Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs though, as they will increase their cost rather astronomically.

  • Alternative Take - Toxin Sacs could just be worth it if you mentally dedicate that Hormagaunt squad to tackling stuff they're only going to be wounding on 6+ anyway. If you're tackling a vehicle or monster you'll need 6 to wound regardless so why not make every wound count twice? It's a 40% price increase for a 100% damage output boost which is pretty good when you consider you always reroll 1s to hit, and 1s to wound as long as there's 20+ in the squad.
  • Great synergy with Hydra's Hive Fleet Adaptation; if your Gaunts aren't outnumbering their target in melee, you are doing something horribly wrong.
  • Ironic truth is that Genestealers now coast more than Chaos Space Marines and are now frankly overkill in most situations. Hormaguants are a good cheap alternative when you simply need to clear out a lot of GEQ.
  • The true differentiating factor between Gaunts and Stealers is the ability to charge after advancing, then AP. Let the Gaunts assume vast numbers and casualties, preserve your stealers.

Ripper Swarms

Hit on 5+ so don't expect much. Are now always burrowers so make use of it to get close to the enemy (or, more likely, objectives).

  • Always remember that these are SWARMS, and hence not INFANTRY. While this has some downsides, like trying to get cover from various terrain pieces, it has upsides as well - many enemy abilities are INFANTRY specific. Many, many, many abilities are INFANTRY specific, and it will behoove you to become familiar with these if you field Rippers.

Remember 'Effing Worms?

Your pretty little kittens, pointy tails, happy smiles, skinborrowing flesheating worms

Your little dakka bugs. Use them to bubble wrap important characters. Always remember that they can mix and match their weapons, so always place a few (like 5 to half of em) Devourers on the unit so it has some decent shooting but also keep enough other weapons along to soak up the damage they will draw. In big units of 20+ models they re-roll 1s To Wound when shooting and when next to a Tervigon they also re-roll 1s To Hit, in case you didn't have enough incentive to place them next to a Tervigon yet. If you don't appreciate the fact that you can arm every single one of them with a weapon that hits like a heavy stubber, you don't have a soul.

  • May have a new lease on life with Psychic Awakening. While it might seem strange to give a pseudo-WT to a fodder unit, consider that a Jormungandr brood with Dynamic Camouflage can have 4+ armour in the open, and Mommy (who received a point drop in CA 2019) can replenish the ranks each round while also providing 5+ FNP. A unit with 20 Devourers, 10 Fleshborers, and a Tervigon to back them up may not be the most deathy of deathstars, but they can be surprisingly difficult to shove off the board for opponents used to seeing them die in droves.

Tyranid Warriors
Router Squad

Your only Synapse Troops, the Warriors keep your swarm together and with Instant Death being gone this may now be their place to shine as they can survive Missile Launchers to the face far better now. The Warriors are generally useful all-rounders, but this time it may be in your best interest to give each Warrior a Deathspitter and a pair of Boneswords. This combination gives them a bunch of decent attacks in melee and a nice gun to shoot with. Only go with different equipment if you can't afford this. Alternatively, since you KNOW that they'll be shot at, keep them cheap and use the points for more models or Venomthropes or something.

  • TL;DR take boneswords and deathspitters as the best all-round loadout. Don’t ever troll yourself by taking two pairs of boneswords unless you really have a hard-on for four-armed bugs with pointy ends - you’ll still only get 1 extra attack (as per the FAQ)
  • Obviously, Warriors make excellent babysitters for Gaunts, as they're Synapse and carry melee and ranged weapons, allowing them to buff up the weak melee of Termies and ranged of Hormies.
  • If you do go warriors, always bring the Prime. While this combo is still fairly vulnerable, it can do work on the offense.

Dedicated Transport[edit]

It's a spongy floating ball of marshmallow... Full of buddies... Covered in guns

Fleshy Drop Pods that you can stick either a Monster of your choice (but only if it has 14 max wounds or less- no shoving a Hierodule in there; Sporocysts and other Tyrannocytes can't be put inside a Tyrannocyte either) or up to 20 Infantry models into. Disembarking models must be placed 9" away from the enemy, but with all your great guns, that shouldn't pose a problem. And after the Tyrannocyte has released its cargo it isn't a helpless kill point waiting to happen, as it floats across the battlefield shooting its 5 guns into the enemy. The main problem with the Tyrannocyte is its BS of 5+, which means you pay out of your nose for its guns, knowing full well that two third of its shots won't do a thing. The Barbed Stranglers are twice as expensive as the Deathspitters, but they also increase accuracy when firing upon larger units. With the crappy base-BS, this makes a huge difference. Just make sure you are actually able to fire at a large unit, either by dropping the Tyrannocyte right next to one or by providing synapse support... possibly from inside the Tyrannocyte itself.

  • Being so versatile means lots of odd combos exist beyond just podding the Swarmlord. Any infantry/critter can be housed. Venomthropes, Zoanthropes, Shrikes, Tervigons and many others can be re-positioned. You can save 40 points, drop a Tervigon and have 10 gaunts insta-charge tanks. You can also have a small variety of toolbox units and choose which one goes in pods during deployment. Another element could be to pod in a Swarmlord and a Harpy or flying hive tyrant to give vast agility in re-positioning your army.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)


He looks familiar because he starred in the tentacle hentai you just watched

The Haruspex's primary function is infantry chewing and almost everything in its arsenal is meant to help with that. Its Maw makes D3 Hit rolls for each attack allocated to it, meaning it averages 8 attacks, and for every model it kills with said Maw, it gets to make another attack with its claws, so it can rack up a pretty impressive body count if you send it at the right units. And if there is no tough infantry to chew, just throw it at a transport, which it can crack open with the claws. Its tongue gun heals it when it kills something with it, and if it kills at least one model in melee it also heals a wound, so throw it at the opponent and watch it heal all the damage the opponent painstakingly put into it. That said, don't expect the Haruspex to kill too much. If the opponent knows about it, he will do his damnedest to shoot it down before it can reach his gunline, which is also great because then he doesn't focus on the rest of your army, and with T8 13 wounds and a 3+, this is easier said than done.

  • Haruspexen cost a whopping 198 points, which is ultimately why they will reliably disappoint you. In general, any problem you would solve with a Haruspex, you should be solving with a Carnifex.
    • Alternate alternate take: The maw gives an average of 8 attacks, for 4 hits. Against GEQ, that's about 3 dead. You then get to make 3 more attacks with your claws, killing another 1~2. So this monster whose purpose is supposedly to kill lots of infantry will kill about an average of only 4~5 guardsmen per turn in melee. Which, for ~200 points, on a model with 7 inch movement that needs to get within 12 inches of the enemy to do anything at all, is quite pathetic. It really would need to get a lot more attacks to be even potentially viable. Else no matter how tanky it is, your opponent can just safely ignore it. Therefore, the Haruspex is probably the worst monster in the codex. Considering that the codex already dropped the points cost by about 80 compared to index, that is really sad...
    • As of Chapter Approved 2019 a Haruspex will only set you back 150 points and it seems from Blood of Baal that GW are really trying to make Haruspexen a "thing". With the right combo of hive fleet traits (think Prey Sight + Metamorphic regrowth) you can have yourself a Haruspex that hits on 3+ on the charge and gains a wound back at the start of your turns even before it's gobbled anyone up. Then consider dropping Dermic Symbiosis on it for a 5++ OR Murderous Size to make that maw into a strength 8, AP-2, damage D3+1 MEQ killer. Either or those adaptive physiologies, combined with the unique Haruspex strategem, may finally make them into the murder machines they were always meant to be. They certainly aren't an auto-take, but they might have a future in some lists.
Hive Guard
That Pink-thing from Doom, but with a bigass gun

Once, the premier transport killers, the Hive Guard are still a fantastic ranged unit. Both their weapons are great at killing vehicles, but the Impaler Cannon is also great at killing Monsters and hiding in bunkers while doing so, because it doesn't need line of sight. If you don't want to take a Tyrannofex and still want some anti-vehicle firepower, take a unit of these and have done. Do note that Impaler Cannons are Heavy, so you'll be at -1 to hit if you move, but with reasonably competent deployment and 36" range on these now, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Unlike most 'Nids, Hive Guard are dedicated to shooting and are good at it; Impaler Cannons are BS3+ Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 D1 d3, so a good salvo from these has a fair chance of knocking out or at least seriously degrading medium tanks.

  • Alternately, the Shockcannon is an Assault weapon, so you can move and fire without penalty, albeit at shorter range. It has the irritating random 1d3 shot thing going on, but with a minimum of three models per unit, you'll probably average out to 2 per. Also, mortal wounds vs vehicles on a 4+ in addition to other damage (and potentially even more on a 6+). Mathematically, a full squad of 6 armed with Shockcannons will average 5.33 extra mortal wounds against any vehicle, which is already enough to outdamage a full unit of Impaler Hive Guard and the similarly priced (238 to Shockcannon Guards’ 234) shoot-twice Rupture Cannon Tyrannofex against Land Raiders and the like, not even factoring in the damage that the actual shots do. They’re also cheaper than Impalers, but of course the problem is their range at only 24”, consider deepstriking them with Jormungandr strat/Tyrannocyte. And they’re going to die faster as you can’t hide behind walls and bunkers and still shoot at things without having line of sight, but then again you can accomplish significantly more vehicle damage with Shockcannon guards than with Impaler guards while they’re alive, which somewhat counteracts this.
    • With Impaler Cannons, these things are a great way to preserve your firebase vs the inevitable massed lascannon Alpha Strike to which things like Exocrines are unfortunately quite vulnerable. Assuming your table has even halfway decent LOS blocking terrain, a squad of three shouldn't be difficult to stick behind a solid wall or similar, and you can then cheerfully rain salvos on your opponent without fear of retaliation, because you can fire without being fired upon.
      • A full squad of 6 with Hive Fleet Kronos and the Single-Minded Annihilation strategem is pumping out 24 S8 shots at 3+, re-rolling 1s. Go think about that for a while and bring the tissues back when you're done.
        • Oh wow Kevin, that witty line about the tissues really makes me wonder a haruspex makes you do...yeesh...grow up you balding neckbeard

The Fluff says these guys are Hot Shit, the Codex says they're just shit

A single Lictor isn't particularly scary. It has a scary profile, but a full unit of anything won't be too impressed. However, each one has a 47.84% chance of making its charge when it pops up (which won't stack with behemoth in any way), and Chameleonic Skin makes them completely immune to anything with WS6+, which means a pair of them will usually (72.8%) be able to tarpit a problematic tank that's been left outside of its bubble wrap. Lictors also have access to a couple of the best stratagems you have, which have the usual problem of not being able to be spammed - Feeder Tendrils lets you gamble on a 2/3 chance to make a CP profit, and Pheromone Trail lets you deliver Genestealers or Trygon Devilgants next to the Lictor instead (which is where you'll really notice your inability to spam the Stratagem). They also intrinsically don't care about Synapse, since they're 1-model units and don't have Instinctive Behaviour.

  • That said, Lictors are pretty bad. Their best trick is Pheromone Trails, which is why Jormungandr has absolutely no use for them - The Enemy Below is spammable, because you use it outside of any game phase.
  • A points drop in Chapter Approved 2018, and an additional Lictor-specific strategem in 2019, might have breathed some life into the old mantis stalkers. For 1CP you have a model with the potential to shut down an entire unit's worth of overwatch with a +1" re-rollable charge. Just imagine your opponents face when his Knight Valiant is denied its Conflagration Cannon's overwatch for the sake of a 34 point resin model, and your 'fexes make it in unmolested!

Looks like an amalgam between the queen from Alien and a gummy bear

A giant Zoanthrope stuffed in an oversized Carnifex that doesn't quite fit either role. The Maleceptor has some impressive survivability with T7 W12 3+/4++, but it fundamentally costs 172 points - enough to buy two Neurothropes with plenty of points left over, and they can hide behind your army, with a better invuln save and the ability to heal with their Smites. It has massive scything talons it can't drop, but M7 A3 WS4/5/6+r1 S7/6/5 AP-3 D1d6 really isn't scary for the points. Its psychic capabilities are... weird. It knows Smite and one power from the Hive Mind discipline, and can cast and deny two powers per turn, but it also gets +1 to cast and deny, so it adds a bit of reliability. It can also forego casting its power and instead send out a shockwave that hits up to 6 enemy units (the maximum drops as it is wounded) within 6" for an average of 1 1/6 mortal wounds each, kind of like a Mawloc, but with more range and fewer wounds dealt. If it had a way to get that close when it needed to, this would be a very different discussion, but it just isn't very fast and it can't deep strike. Save yourself the trouble - you have better sources for everything the Maleceptor offers (Synapse and Mortal Wounds spam).

  • Well there is one way you can deliver a Maleceptor. Be Kraken, Advance and use your fleet stratagem, then use Metabollic Overdrive and advance too. You have about 30" of movement. Is this viable at all? No, but it can be plenty of fun.
  • There is one and ONLY ONE reason to take a Maleceptor over 3 Zoanthropes... and that's if you're using Jormungandr. With Jormungandr your Maleceptors gain a 2+ save anywhere they go, giving them much better survivability, maximizing your use of your Hive Fleet as well as gaining the Psychic and Synapse support you'll definitely want.
  • Well, two reasons. On the flip-side, point for point the Maleceptor is possibly the best single-unit mid-backfield defensive Synaptic-line-anchor in the codex. Cheaper than a Tervigon by far, it's also way more resilient to S9+ -2AP+ heavy weapons fire thanks to it's 4++ invuln., where things like lascannons wound it and a Tervigon on 3s but the 'Ceptor shrugs off 50% of the hits on average. Sure, autocannons are 50% more effective vs it than a Tervigon (going from wounding 2/6 to 3/6 of the time, 50% increase) but if autocannons are chipping away at this buffing-synapse lump they're not hitting anything else. It's tougher than equal points of Zoanthropes and can hold it's own in melee better than most other Synapse units where it's decent T7, Sv3+ & 4++ combined with Overload can help it survive vs other melee Elites until help arrives, even vs thunder hammers. You don't need to worry about the model's 7" move so much if the enemies are coming to you. The deciding factor is how important Synapse is to you in 8th edition (and if you want to run lots of Monsters or not)...
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Finally made it

The formerly worst unit in the whole game got yet another buff. They now seem to be predestined to be shoved into a Tyrannocyte, as their Flamespurt has just high enough range to be used right after disembarking, but that's a loooot of points to pay for delivering a maximum of 3 Pyrovores. They're also better in melee then they used to be, and are decently cheap now. Considering how awesome Biovores are now, your Pyrovores will probably still be counts-as-Biovores. If you could legally fit multiple units into a Tyrannocyte, these guys would be a lot better. For now, at the very least they are cheap efficient melee deterrent, with flamer-overwatch, acid blood, and the ability to explode.

  • Jormungandr can pop them out using their hive-fleet specific strategem The Enemy Below as well... but with those 60mm bases (and a Trygon or squad of Raveners as well) you're going to need a lot of real-estate or it's going to be a tight fit.
    • Alternative take: Don't forget that these chuck out mortal wounds as they die. AND they have a longer range heavy flamer and a power sword. For 25 points. While being tougher then a warrior. They might not be amazing, but they can definitely make your opponent think twice if they get too close.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Tyrant Guard
Flunkies for your Big Evil Monkey

Dedicated bodyguards for your Hive Tyrant. These guys can intercept shots meant for your Hive Tyrant, which is great as it keeps your big boss safe that much longer. Should the Tyrant die regardless, they all gain 1 extra attack the turn after it dies. The Guards themselves have a pretty decent profile with 7" movement, WS3+, S/T5, 3 attacks and 3+ armour and can take some great gear.

  • With crushing claws they become decently scary hitting on 4+ with 3 S10 AP-3 DD3 attacks each, giving them tank-wrecking power enough to contest with Carnifexes or Hive Guard and making them a veritable threat against elites that don't have good invulnerable saves. This loadout is costly however at 49 points per model before even considering adrenal glands/toxin sacs (though Hive Guard with impaler cannons are a close 48 points per model).
  • With the wording at the moment, if your Tyrant manages to cast Catalyst upon himself then the Tyrant will first get his normal save, then his Catalyst save, and finally his 2+ guard save. This may be FAQed in the future.
  • Unfortunately rather cost-inefficient considering their lack of the character keyword, and easily killed, because aside from wounds, they're actually rather fragile. Could be decent on a Walkrant.

Yeah, you saw these guys in your hentai too

These are mainly used to keep the rest of your swarm safe. Enemy units take a -1 To Hit penalty when shooting at any infantry that hugs Venomthropes, so keep them in the middle of your swarm, preferably behind some Monsters, since the Venomthropes aren't characters and so if the opponent can draw line of sight to these rather tall models, he can hit them.

  • The codex changed the aura to a 6" and can shroud Monsters if they have 3 models in a unit, with 6 models in a unit it becomes 9". So the choice between Venomthropes and Malanthropes depends on your taste. Malanthropes can survive longer, give re-rolls when they wipe out a unit, and are Synapse (especially important in a Leviathan detachment) but their range is miniscule, Venomthropes can be easily shot at, but have higher damage output and longer range in addition to the ability to use the Feeder Tendrils stratagem for farming CPs.

Zoanthropes: Once the Tyranids' premier tank killers, the Zoanthropes took a couple of hits this time. First, you now have to field them in units of 3 or more. Second, their ability to blow holes the size of a Predator Tank into a Predator Tank has been reduced to them shooting out a slightly stronger Smite at a longer range, though the power boost only applies in units of 4 or more 'thropes (although 2d3 or 3+d3 mortal wounds isn't to be sneezed at). That said, in units of 4 or more, they can also cast a second power, which makes them much more useful, but also forces you to play at least 4 or 5 of them.

Special Characters[edit]

A boi that will kill the guy you spent 6 months painting

Deathleaper remains a character killer, even more so in an edition where characters can no longer hide inside large units to avoid him.

  • His superior chameleonic skin forces enemies to subtract 2 from their hit rolls. That includes ranged AND melee. That is quite a debuff, especially for characters that normally hit on 3+. In addition, he adds 2 instead of 1 while in cover, giving him a cool 3+ anytime he's hiding.
  • It's after me! is now a re-roll to hit and to wound in the fight phase on a character chosen at the start of the game. He no longer has his amazing deployment rules and is now forced to deploy like a Lictor, that is, 9" away from all enemies. This severely neuters what was a pretty good harassing unit or character killer. He got two wounds to compensate so... yay? Still, his -2 to hit, re-roll charge on the turn he pops up, and 6 wounds mean he's well suited to tying up irritating heavy weapons squads or big angry tanks; denying them a round or two of shooting can pay for him straight up regardless of whether he actually kills anything.
    • Do watch out for "Heroic Intervention" and similar abilities when doing this. Deathleaper won't be tying up much of anything apart from his own innards if a CC monster like Abaddon is within 3" of whatever you want not to shoot.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

The Red Terror
The Red Terror.jpeg

A super Ravener to make your other Raveners hit better. If you want to take him, make sure he has some of his buddies with him. Ideally, you want an Trygon Prime to spread Synapse around, the Red Terror, at least 6 Raveners and something to come out of the Trygon's tunnel to pull this off. If you have all these pieces together, you can do some unspeakable things to your opponent's army with extremely accurate Raveners that don't run ever.

    • He is also the 2nd cheapest elite slot unit (lictors are cheapest), and his Swallow Whole ability allows him to devour any model, so long as you can roll equal to or greater than that model's maximum wound characteristic with a d6. Since he is so cheap, and a very fast character with deep-strike, you can use him as an assassin to instakill a character or elite infantry model, ignoring any saves or feel-no-pains! Though you want to have 1 CP at hand in case you need to reroll the Swallow. With some luck, he can even swallow an Ad-Mech chicken walker! (Best not to dwell on the logistics of that one...)

  • It is easy to overlook The Red Terror's swallow whole rule, as it needs all 4 of its attacks to hit before even rolling to see if it goes through. Made worse considering it only has 4 attacks and the tail slap doesn't count. However, then you realise it hits on 2+ and has 2 pairs of scything talons, giving it 1 more attack and allows it to re-roll 1s to hit. Hitting 4 out of 5 attacks on 2+ re-rolling 1s looks very possible, then roll 2+ to instantly take out a pesky Terminator or roll a 6 and swallow a whole Broadside. Bon appetit!
    • An additional note on this rule: it specifies rolling above the target's wound characteristic i.e. their maximum number of wounds, not current number of wounds, so the dreams of The Red Terror scoffing down a wounded Chimera will sadly never be realized. It may be a Tyranid, but it has the decency to at least open its lunch box. With an exception for Ork Warbuggies (and Eldar Vyper/Venoms), those are slim enough to fit into The Red Terror's diet.
      • An additional additional note: swallow whole specifies the attacks must come from his scything talons. This means that if he somehow gets in a position where he can't use his talons due to a specific rule or some-such (i.e. against Jain Zar), he cannot swallow.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Fast Attack[edit]

A bat with a gun

Have blinding venom which gives them some use in combat. They have finally been acknowledged as flyers so they can make use of being able to fall back and shoot, even if it's only with Fleshborers. Squads of 20 or more get to re-roll 1s when shooting like termagants. Seem a bit pricey.

  • Not mentioning being able to deep strike in? Pretty useful for putting 10-30 fast moving (12" base) blobs of dakka harassers into someone's back-line (if they'll fit!) or into the path of a major threat heading towards your back-line. Combined with the Endless Swarm 2CP stratagem, Gargoyles are a good bet for a late-game line breaker VP, or to tie-up fire support units, you know, the usual back-end mischief (ooooooooohhhhh).
  • It could be better as Gargs only have a single attack each, but Blinding Venom makes them a useful hammer to an enemy unit already in combat vs the anvil of another unit. No overwatch, Gargs charge in and even 10 attacks should just about kill 1 MEq which is all you need for that unit in the gribbly sammich to get -1 To Hit, stacking the odds even more in your favour. Cackle as that power fist or thunder hammer flails about needing 5s to hit.
  • Also dropped in price, so the MSU is now just 50pts.

Nothing to see here.

Mucolid Spores
Big. Floaty. Goes Boom

Beefed up Spore mines. 20 points a pop nets you T3 W3 6+ Sv that behave exactly as Spore mines, but when they explode on a roll of 2 - 5 they inflict D3 mortal wounds or D6 on a roll of 6. Decent for trolling flyers, as all mines in this edition have the FLY keyword.

Nothing here. Move along

Sword Snake

Goddammit Raveners we've wanted to like you for about six editions now and we may finally have our chance. Their two biggest weaknesses ie. cost and no frags have both been fixed. They're cheap now, real cheap; (<30 if you don't dick about with Devourers or Deathspitters, why are you doing that?) and swing first on the charge. Additionally they can still deep strike and attempt to charge that turn, but the real beans of these guys is the sheer number of attacks they put out. With Spinefists and 2 x Talons they're putting out NINE attacks a turn. NINE. Granted the Spinefists are only hitting on 4+ at S3 but the 5 CC attacks are S4 and hitting on 3+ with re-rolling 1s. For two more points and the sacrifice of one attack you can have rending claws instead; DO THIS. Marines will have to save a LOT of wounds on 4+ even before the inevitable rends. A full squad of Raveners with claws and Spinefists comes in at around what a Landraider used to be, which isn't bad when they're getting a 4+ in cover vs small arms fire and they're no longer subject to instant death vs S8+.

  • Comparison with Shrikes - Both move 12" but Raveners don't fly, so Shrikes are slightly better at bouncing around and can charge flying things. Shrikes also have the better save (4+ vs 5+ and being Synaptic they'll never have to worry about morale making half the unit run away, but then again on the other hand Raveners can pop up and try to charge the turn they arrive; at most they'll have to sit for a turn before getting into combat whereas Shrikes are perhaps more likely to get tagged a couple of times on the way in. Shrikes have more flexibility in weapons loadout (no Boneswords for Raveners) and on the whole are probably about 25% better, but they're also 25% costlier. Point for point, 9 Raveners is about 7 Shrikes, at which point the former is somewhat better against infantry while the latter is somewhat better against vehicles. On balance, if you're already taking foot Warriors for combat and are having them pop up with a Trygon, take Raveners to accompany them. If you're fielding neither Warriors or Raveners, the Shrikes are a good compromise between the two.

Sky Slasher Swarm
Like the worms in your ears, but with wings

Skyslashers have been around for 3 editions now and have never been any good. That hasn't changed but now at least they're as amusing as hell so that has to count for something. They're Swarms and with the Fly rule they ignore terrain. With cover changing they're never getting better than a 5+ save but now can't be doubled out by S6+ and unless your opponent turns d3/d6 weapons on them they're not going to be evaporating big chunks of these in a hurry (moral victory to you sir/ma'am if your opponent starts turning Missile Launchers or Lascannons from your big bugs to these goons). They've also lost Hammer of Wrath, but nobody ever used them anyway so that's hardly a loss. Additionally they only hit on 5+ now which sucks in so many ways it's probably fair on balance to say that they have (somehow) been nerfed. On the other hand at 11 points base they've become significantly cheaper and for 2 more points a base (ie an 18 point investment for a full sized unit) they can all have S2 pistols that fire FOUR shots each. Given that pistols can now be fired in or into combat, that's a hilarious 8 papercuts a turn per base. Picture the look on your opponent's face when they get shot with 36 BS2 S2 pistols then charged with what amounts under 7th ed thinking to 36 WS1 S3 attacks; any kill is a victory and will annoy the hell out of them. In terms of mathhammer, this unit will land 4 wounds vs MEQ in the shooting phase and another 4 in the assault phase so it all takes is a little bad rolling and half a squad of the Emperor's finest have had their faces eaten off by low flying and extremely hostile alien piranhas. And don't forget that since they fly, they can jump out and shoot again in their own turn. They cost very little and while they're unlikely to be particularly effective they're going to be worth huge laughs. Make sure to talk about how funny it will be if they take the last wound off a very big and very damaged centrepiece like a Land Raider or a Wraithknight; your opponent will kill it himself before he lets that happen.

No text.

Spore Mines
Small. Floaty. Smelly. Goes Boom

3" move. 7+ save. Purchased units can "Float Down" (Deep Strike). They cause between 0 and D3 mortal wounds if there is ever an enemy model within 3". Do not award VPs, cannot claim objectives. In Matched Play, they and Mucolid Spores do not detract from reinforcement points if they're created by other units (e.g. Sporocysts, Biovores, etc.).

No text!

A warrior on uncle's crack cocaine

Now with 4+ saves so they're carbon copies of warriors plus wings. Sexy as hell, they've gone from being blasted away by Bolters to standing up to Heavy Bolters, Autocannons, and even being able to shrug off a few Krak missiles with some luck. Also one of the scariest things a soldier can face. Sure Gargoyles are a lot swarmier and Flyrants and such are bigger and deadlier, but at least you can watch gargoyles drop and monsters stay in the sky or don't come in large numbers. Shrikes are in that perfect combination of deadly and swarmy and flying to be downright terrifying. If groups of 9 foot tall monsters with huge swords that cleave through armour like butter and acid spitting machineguns auto-shotguns descending on you doesn't make you shit your pants then you clearly are brain dead. Since they can obviously FLY, give them double Boneswords and sicc them after enemy fliers, which they are allowed to assault. Sure, that flier can fall back and still shoot, so you won't be able to tarpit it, but with AP-2 and a whole bunch of attacks after your shooting, you will put quite a dent into them before they can fly away.

The rest have text.

Fun fact: This boi can munch as much as a pothead, but still stay this skinny

Degrading M, WS and A. The Dimachaeron's new incarnation is interesting to say the least. He's sporting 6 attacks that are kinda hindered by -2 AP, but his Sickle Claws make for a decent anti-tank weapons if you really have to wreck some Russes around. He also no longer have access to FnP, but now every time he NOMS some INFANTRY pleb he gets himself 5++ for the rest of the game, which is really nice considering the amount of plasma your opponent will spew at him. Oh, and his signature skill, Leaper killer, is really trollworthy - whenever the Dimachaeron moves, you do not count any vertical distances it moves against the total it may travel. And he moves 12 WAFFLING INCHES. Use Swarmy's "Hive commander on him" or the Metabolic Overdrive stratagem and watch your opponent's face as the Big Bad Lictor literally crossed half the board on turn 1.

  • FAQ alert: the grasping talons and thorax weapon has been FAQ'd. When you roll a 6+ to hit with this weapon, the strength value changes from 7 to 12 14 (it's Sx2; weapon's S, not the unit's) and the damage increases from 1 to d6. <3

Meiotic Spores
Boom. Skibbedi pap-pap

Boy, isn't this edition cruel to the poor mines. They no longer produce ordinary spores upon death, and in terms of gameplay, Meiotic Spores are just -1 T, W and Sv Mucolid Spores. Did i mention that min size squad costs 54 points? Avoid x3.

  • However these spores come down before the movement phase 12" away from enemy units, this allows them to move then charge giving them only a 9" charge compared to the other spores 12" charges.
    • Alternate take: Why charge when you can use metabolic overdrive, move, run, then overdrive with hive fleet kraken - is almost a guaranteed turn 1 bomb.


Bombs your opponent's backline like during a good day in Vietnam

Now costs the same points as the Crone as of CA2019, but trades with flier hunting buffs for more reliable shooting and the ability to carpet bomb your opponent with spore mines. Its decent damage output is hampered by your average tyranid BS, although its Stranglethorn Cannons gain +1 to hit against units of 10 or more models (ideal for an infantry meta, whereas the Heavy Venom Cannons are better suited towards vehicle hunting).

Their ability to drop spore mines is, however, useful, and a valuable source of mortal wounds. The Harpy works best as a backline harasser, helping you deal with those pesky Predators/Basilisk/Onagers.

  • Be very careful when using the Harpy. They're fragile and will get shot down if focused, so use your ability to charge to your advantage; use it to protect your bae from being shot down by forcing your opponent to fall back with their backline unit (or if you're lucky: units).
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Hive Crone
A biiig harpy, but without the bombs

Crones got a bit of a boost in this edition, simply because there's more stuff that can FLY, and their Tentaclids re-roll failed to hit rolls against units with this keyword. The Tentaclids also deal mortal wounds against vehicles on a 4+ and you're going to need those as the damned things are only at Strength 5. Low Toughness and a disappointing save make the Crone a maybe rather than a must, but still- probably worth taking 2 if you want to ruin a Tau player's day. Degrading M, WS and BS. Just like the Harpy, the Hive Crone is not HARD TO HIT and suffers the same fate.

  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Heavy Support[edit]

Be careful of your opponents flipping the table

They don't need to roll to wound, they just skip to rolling Mortal Wounds damage roll: 1d6; 0 on a 1, 1 on 2-5, 1d3 (average 2) on a 6, for a total average of 1 per hit. If you miss, you get to place a Spore Mine that the opponent has to walk around, due to the magical 1" barrier all models have during the Movement phase, and can optionally charge into to eat the damage (but shouldn't). Sometimes missing with them is better than hitting to create a temporary wall or to get that surround on a transport, so consider moving and using instinctive behaviour to stack negative hit modifiers.

  • No, really. You can damage LAND RAIDERS AND TITANS on a 2+, and even if you "miss", the spore mine will not only wound them anyway, but can block forward movement if you manage to get two off and space them 4" apart, since they can't move within 1" of enemies. Just spam Biovores and Malanthropes and you win.
  • Consider this. 3 squads of Biovores is 150 points, and is not only intrinsically immune to Morale, but also doesn't mind Instinctive Behaviour, since it's so often better to miss anyway. On a triple miss, those 150 points add 30 points to your army without using reinforcement points. Bear in mind you don't actually need to charge with them and eat overwatch; you just need to be within 3" at the end of the charge phase, so the mines can get there via regular movement. There's only so much incidental firepower the average person will be able to throw at them while managing other threats, so as turns pass and their guns are either killed or tied up, you'll have more of these building up and slamming mortal wounds into special snowflakes with increasing regularity. Now, also consider that you can't target characters unless they're the closest unit, but you can target (and miss) the unit next to them, then place the Mines as close as possible to said character. If you want to be a troll, move the Biovores first while outside of Synapse, to increase their odds of placing a Spore Mine to 5/6 (5 or less).
    • Make sure to clarify how Biovores work with your opponent if you're using the new beta deep strike rules. These rules, by RAW, would apply to any spore mines created by the biovore's ability, which means you may not be able to produce spore mines outside of your deployment zone turn one. This is incredibly stupid, and you probably shouldn't play with anyone who insists on it, but be aware.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)

Classic Crabby lad

The old mainstay had its ups and downs. Currently it is an extremely cheap to field model (as in: you-can-field-a-Carnifex-for-fewer-points-than-a-unit-of-Warriors) with tonnes of versatility. Stat-wise it's pretty much a Dreadnought, and is far more customizable than the rotting tuna cans. Living Battering Ram lets it add +1 to hit when it charges, in addition to dealing 1 mortal wound on a 4+. The options given back to the 'Fex can suit them into any role you want, and sometimes even better at it than the monsters made for the job (looking at you, Haruspex). There are multiple ways to take one, but always take the Spore Cysts, so your Carnifex will survive long enough to do some work. As a result, never take Spine Banks. More details follow below, but you should also be avoiding the bio-plasma and the chitin thorns. Here are a few common ways to build a 'Fex:

  • Dakkafex: Ignore the Deathspitters and the Stranglethorn; even if you think you have a use-case for them, you should be looking at a Thornback for that (see below). Take 4 Devourers with Brainleech Worms (7 each) for 24 S6 shots, Enhanced Senses for 25% more shots hitting (usually 16, rather than 12), and, of course, Spore Cysts. That's 115 points for generally landing 16 S6 shots. While usually not the best idea, the Monstrous Acid Maw could be useful if you don't want your Dakkafex to be completely helpless in melee, especially since the Devourers only have an 18 inch range.
  • Meleefex: Ignore the Maw. It looks good (and it is), but you've got enough melee weapons already - and the crushing claws, which usually only boost you from wounding on 5+ to wounding on 3+ against enemy heavies, at a relatively severe accuracy penalty (unless you charge, in which case you're fine). Take the Tusks and keep the basic two pairs of monstrous scything talons, Spore Cysts to live long enough to get there. Naturally, you will want adrenal glands and toxin sacs, and you should grab a bone mace tail. Assuming you charge - which you need to - that's A6 WS3+r1 S6 AP-3 D3 (D4 on wound rolls of 6+) and one WS3 S8 AP-1 D1d3 (D1d3+1 on wound rolls of 6+), plus half a mortal wound, which will wreck the majority of heavy infantry or light vehicle/monster opponents, like Rhinos, all for 111 points.
  • Hybrid: While it may be tempting to take pure dakka or melee carnifexes, the more optimal loadouts revolve around a mix of the two as they can be far more points efficient in smaller numbers (2-3 ish) by being able to shoot as they stomp towards the nearest tin can, whereas with pure melee, you are risking the carnifex being blown away before it makes back a single point. There are three main builds worth considering, the 2nd of which are helped immensely by OOE. The first is MST, Devourers, and Enhanced Senses, allowing you to advance up the table while picking of light chaff and providing another immediate target your opponent has to deal with. The second is Monstrous Crushing Claws, Devourers, and Enhanced Senses or Tusks, which when paired with OOE, transforms them into tank blenders by now hitting on 3s with 4 Strength 12 attacks on the charge while still contributing in the opening turns of the battle. Additionally, swapping enhanced senses for tusks, gives a better chance at wrecking tanks in one go. The third option is MCC, HVC, and Enhanced Senses which featured in the winning Nid list at the London GT in 2018. While not the most optimal choice, especially how the meta has shifted, it can still pack a punch both at range and in combat.

Stabby Crabby lad

Screamer-Killer: The classic Carnifex, now with its own datasheet. Two pairs of Scything Talons, and a free Bio-Plasmic Scream that's Assault d6, S7 AP-4, and 18" range that gives it something to mess up MEQs as it moves into charging distance. In addition to Living Battering Ram, it makes enemy units within 8" add 1 to any Morale tests they take. As one more bonus, they can take Spore Cysts, which penalises the hit rolls of opponents shooting at them by -1. It doesn't stack with a Venomthrope, but those shouldn't be following Carnifexes into melee to start with.

  • Do consider that Screamer Killers are more expensive than regular Carnifex (90 points instead of 67) for the Bio-Plasmic Scream and the special rule. It cannot take a tail nor Tusks. As stated above, a regular Carnifex with a melee build is around 111 points, if you take all the Biomorphs listed above, while a Screamer Killer will cost 124 and it won't have the additional attacks from the Tusks and the tail. Make sure to use that Bio-Plasmic scream on something if you take it, since that's its main draw.

Shooty Crabby lad

Thornback: A more specialised anti-infantry version of the Dakkafex, the Thornback makes up for its comparative weakness in melee combat with several tricks that will deter assaults on it. Thorned Battering Ram lets it inflict d3 mortal wounds rather than the usual 1 when charging infantry, and the compulsory Chitin Thorns further discourage assault troops. More importantly, its attacks ignore the cover bonus to saves for infantry. It starts with monstrous scything talons, which it can and should swap for a Stranglethorn Cannon (unless you have a specific plan to use Thorned Battering Ram a lot, such as against Tau) and two Devourers with Brainleech Worms, which it should be swapping for two Deathspitters with Slimer Maggots, as well as buying Enhanced Senses. The lack of Spore Cysts hurts, but you're still looking at 114 points for typically landing 4 S7 AP-1 D1 and 2.33 S7 AP-1 D2 shots that bypass cover saves on infantry, making it better than a Dakkafex at wiping out TEQs/two-wound models in cover and taking potshots at light vehicles.

Pesky Tankybreaky Crabby lab

Stone-Crusher Carnifex (Forge World): The tried and true vehicle (and building) Murder-fex. These babies cost a fair shake more than a stock 'fex or Thornback. Like a Thornback, their mortal wounds from charging increase to 1d3 against their chosen target, which for them is vehicles or buildingss, but they don't get +1 to hit from charging. They're also the only breed of 'fex that can't take toxin sacs or adrenal glands, and they use the old Index definitions of the thresher scythe and bone mace (because they are printed directly on the model's datasheet), meaning the scythe is an auto-buy over the mace (you can't field them without tails). It comes with two wrecker claws; you can swap one claw out for a bio-flail if you're deliberately trying to make the 'fex worse, as you'll make it more expensive and worse at melee at the same time (anything you'd attack with the bio-flail, you should be attacking with the scythe).

  • Those wrecker claws are absolute beast; for an 18 point pair, you get Sx2 (S12) AP-3 D1d6, and they'll re-roll both failed hits and failed wounds against vehicles and buildingss. You can buy bio-plasma, which really isn't a bad gun, it just won't do much against the targets you'll be trying to shove your Carnifex into. All told, your Stone-Crusher should come out to 105 points with two claws and a scythe and no bio-plasma. You'll be inferior to a stock Fex in most regards (no glands, sacs, cysts, or tusks, no +1 to hit when charging): combining to make your nidzilla a sad panda - but wrecker claws are legitimately strictly better than crushing claws in every possible respect, and your thresher scythe doesn't come with its own attack but can be used with all 4 of your stock ones, letting you fall back on it against hordes to double your swings on average, so this Carnifex can be surprisingly punchy, and if you can get it to the enemy alive, will absolutely wreck some face.
  • Note that the specific wording of the Wrecking Claws means that a 'fex armed with 2 Wrecking Claws re-rolls hits with it's Tail Weapon as well.
  • For Hive Fleets, Jormungandr are a great choice considering now that they get Land Raider armor against shooting. Kraken are good if you want to use a lot of Melee-fex as second-wave charging unit. The others benefit them not as much as these two.
  • All in all, an incredibly flexible unit capable of acting either as a melee Dreadnought or somewhere between a Predator or Razorback equivalent. Sacrificing durability for mobility and cheapness.

The Shootiest 'nid lad

A massive middle finger for anyone bitching about Tyranid AP being bad. Its gun is 36" Heavy 6 S7 AP-3 D2, and if it doesn't move it gets to shoot twice and add 1 to its 4+ hit rolls. Show those Terminators what scary dakka means when you hose them down with acid plasma from 36" away. Even though the Nids now have a real Plasma Cannon, try to avoid long range shootouts with other Plasma Spam armies. Seriously, don't do it, unless you want Heavy 1d3 or worse for the return fire. Like other long range artillery, they need meat shields for their survival.

  • One thing to consider about the Exocrine is that the number of shots he fires and the BS he uses fluctuates wildly and that's even before he starts to degrade through damage. If he stands still and foregoes charging (why would charging be a serious option, though?) he can fire 12 shots at 3+ (well technically he fires six shots twice so two different targets if need be). If he moves, that's 6 shots at a miserable 5+. Not only do you miss out on the +1 to hit for not moving or charging, but you take a -1 to hit penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons, because despite being dedicated to shooting, he lacks the Bio-tank rule of the Tyrannofex which allows it to ignore said penalty. Best used parked in cover at the rear, beside a Malanthrope, meaning he's safely in synapse range with a synaptic 9 wound character who is unlikely to get sniped while shooting directed at him are -1 to hit, and he has a 2+ save for his 12 T8 wounds. Like the Tyrannofex, Kronos will make sure its shots count.
  • Blood of Baal introduced a strat that allows the exocrine to move (but not Advance - FAQed!) and still gain the bonuses for standing still at the cost of 1CP, giving our favourite pseudo-plasma gun beast a much needed manoeuvrability boost.
  • Blood of Baal also granted Tyranid players some new psychic powers and adaptive physiologies that seem purpose built for Exocrines. Symbiostorm will make your sixes count as two hits (especially nice for Kronos players) and Voracious Ammunition will see any unit that's lost models to your shots take an additional D3 mortal wounds if the unit somehow survived. Bye-bye Terminator squad!
  • As of Chapter Approved 2019 it costs 155 points to field one of these fellas. An Exocrine now cost 10 points less than a single squad of 5 Hellblasters, whilst having 6" more range, 2 more shots (at ALL ranges), and doing 2 damage without the overcharge risk!! Sure, no S8, but you can't have everything!

"Maw" means mouth, btw

The Terror of the Deep no longer relies on random scatter to go off, meaning it just deep strikes in at >1" away from the enemy and 6" away from your other Deep Striking Mawlocs, then it deals an average of 1.5 mortal wounds to every enemy unit within 2". It can't charge the turn it surfaces, but a gigantic gob worm rising right in the enemy ranks works as a neat distraction. You end up paying 104 points (105 if you buy a Toxinspike, or even more if you spring for the Adrenal Glands or Toxin Sacs) for 1 mouth attack which is anti-tank, then 8 anti-infantry attacks from its talons, then 1 anti-infantry attack from the tail, but not on the same turn you sprang up, meaning if you want to do anything with it other than spring it up as a shiny red ball to get shot, you want to be Kraken, so you can Fall Back from the inevitable tarpitting, and still charge (nothing you do will let the Mawloc Burrow out of a tarpit). Perhaps its best ability is simply Deep Striking so close to the enemy, which means you can reliably shove it onto an objective much of the time.

  • Mawlocs are very cheap and the submerge ability allows for some flexibility. You can deploy them normally, allowing you to qualify for the 50% rule, and then burrow and join in the fun. It's not a full null-deployment, but it's a tool that depends on your opponent. The ability to shut down a strong shooting model for a turn via charging will also pay dividends. Of course, they excel at harassing a whole group of units, forcing tough choices. The ability to appear anywhere on the board post turn three is also powerful in objective-based games. They cost very little, have an unique ability in 40K, and come in at less than ten points a wound. By focusing on the Strength of the Mawloc, you don't have to buy a Trygon and another unit to do backfield harassment; they do this role on a budget.
    • One highly overlooked ability of the Mawloc is to block off corridors. The model is on a 120 by 90 mm base. If you deep-strike it into a street or other corridor, the opening would need to be almost ten inches wide for Space Marines to scoot past it (120mm base + 25mm to either side because enemies cannot move within an inch of it + 32mm for the base of the space marine). While it will likely get shot off the board the turn after you set it down, it can easily slow down your opponent getting onto an objective by a turn, and in a game that usually only goes for 5 turns, that can swing the game your way quite a bit.
    • With the new beta rules, the mawloc might be the worst unit in the codex. It can't arrive in enemy deployment until turn 2, which means it can't charge a backline unit until turn three.

The big daddy of Hentai

Nothing is really safe from a Toxicrene. Everything it does re-rolls to Wound, which combined with Strength 7 means that unless you consciously target monsters with it, it will usually wound with all its hits. It has some scary (if low-ranged) shooting and in melee it strikes before everything else and has 6 attacks. The real kicker however is its Hypertoxic Miasma which has a chance of inflicting a mortal wound on every enemy model within 1" of it.

  • Like the Haruspex, this big old hentai monster suffers from not being durable or fast enough to make it into combat, and it's degradation chart really hampers it even if he does.
    • With the new Codex the Toxicrene hits on 3+ before degradation and has an AP of -2 with his tentacles, which improves his close combat damage quite considerably.
  • Chapter Approved 2019 has further reduced the cost of a Toxicrene to 125 points. They're now barely more expensive than a well-equipped Carnifex and look a lot scarier, which might make them a nice distraction. They also look like a nice place to put the "Murderous Size" adaptive physiology, since that would make their hentai tentacles Strength 8, AP -3, Damage D3+1. Since they can already re-roll wounds that could make them into a genuine threat to vehicles.

Scares babies and Space Marines alike

With three sets of Massive Scything Talons (which have no purpose since you only get one extra attack as per the FAQ) and six attacks, the Trygon is once again a proper murder machine.

  • Its Subterranean Assault ability lets it appear anywhere on the table, more than 9" away from the nearest enemy, at the end of the movement phase.

  • You have the option of dragging along a unit of troops, but they also have to be placed more than 9" away from the nearest enemy, which means assault is a somewhat iffy proposition, even if you plan on spending command points for re-rolls and have Adrenal Glands. Or just place them in a Behemoth detachment to pretty much guarantee the charge. Jormungandr's Stratagem can open up far more potential for this, since it will allow the Trygon to bring along two units instead of one.
  • However, if you pop the Trygon up sideways, just shy of 12" away from your enemy, you can place ~25 devilgants able to shoot in the same direction around it. If you do this, you are required to bring a bucket of dice with you.

Trygon Prime: A slightly meaner Trygon bawss. Wields the Tyranid Matrix of leadership and has the Character keyword, so you can give him relics and warlord traits.

  • Starts equipped with Biostatic Rattle which adds +1 to Morale rolls for any unit taking unsaved wounds from it.
  • Facing off against Leman Russes, Eldar tanks, or other T7 W10+ Sv3+ units? Take a Trygon Prime! Psychic Awakening has a few fun toys for him to play with. Kit it out with Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs. Give it the Murderous Size Adaptive Physiology trait. Deep strike 9" away from the target. Spend 1 CP for rolling your charge distance on 3D6-drop the lowest, and then add +1" from your glands. Now that you're in, watch your opponent's eyes well up as you attack with 7 S8 AP-4 D6+1Dmg (D6+2Dmg on wound rolls of 6+), averaging 17 damage. That'll outright kill most things that don't have an invul or a good FnP. If you need more insurance (or if you're dealing with a T8 Repulsor) spend 2 more CP and re-roll all failed wound rolls. Now you're pumping out a whopping 23dmg (19dmg against T8 = dead Repulsor)! If you're worried about taking Overwatch, you can always put the Trygon in a detachment with the custom Hive trait that gives you a 4+ FnP against Overwatch.
You point at a target and it's gone with this beasty

Versatile fire support that might actually be seen with other loadouts than Acid Spray this edition, now that it can move and fire heavy weapons with no penalty, but can shoot twice if it stands still, so you still won't move it if you can help it. It carries a compulsory Stinger Salvo for 8 points, which combines nicely with the Spray or Hive for clearing out infantry.

  • Can be equipped to deal with a variety of enemies:
    • The Acid Spray's strength degrades as the Tyrannofex is wounded, but with 7 shots hitting compared to the Hive's usual of 10, better AP and Damage mean that against almost all targets, it's a better gun than the Hive on multi-wound targets or anything with an armor save.

    • The Fleshborer Hive is better against big hordes that don't rely on saves (like Horrors), and can be buffed with Scorch Bugs to wound MEQs and GEQs on 2s, but it's not useful in remotely as many contexts as the Acid Spray.
    • The Rupture Cannon costs a fuckton, driving the dude's cost up to 230 points, but it will fuck up very heavy targets with 2x3 S10 lascannon-equivalent shots. Taking it with Kronos' adaptation all but guarantees that tanks will die.
  • (Note: This unit had its points changed in Chapter Approved 2018)


Not sure if we copied Starcraft, or Starcraft copied us

Degrading Str and A. Can shoot its weapons even when in combat, which is useful, seeing as it can't move. Set up more then 9" away from enemy models just before the first turn, has synapse itself if in synapse range, and spews out spore mines or mucolid spores (as an actual weapon, so if there're no targets within 9" you can't make any splodey things). If you're not paying points, then go all Barbed Stranglers for 5D6 S5 AP-1 shots at 36"(with BS 4+ against units of more than 10+ models).

  • Amusing in objective missions, given that it "deploys" anywhere outside 9" of an enemy unit after deployment is finished but before T1 starts - pop the thing on a vacant objective your opponent is likely to try to claim and hurl Mucolid Spore Mines at them when they try. With 12 wounds it's unlikely to evaporate to small arms, and with the ability to deal d3 to d6 mortal wounds, plus a hail of ill-aimed gunfire to back that up, your opponent won't be claiming that objective with a couple of otherwise useless incidental dollies, although, like all your big bugs, it will go down in a screaming heap if isolated and eating heavy weapons fire.
  • The codex gave them a point reduction and the ability to spawn spore mines in addition to firing them, and you don't have to pay reinforcement points to do so either. Left alone they can fill the board with spores. Hope you have enough models!
  • As you are going to have to take a separate detachment to get even 1 of the guys anyway, remember that you must have the same Hive Fleet keyword as both the Synapse unit and the rest of your army in order to get any benefit.

Lords of War[edit]

Barbed Hierodule
Doesn't look much like the other 'nids

As the better Hierodule in the previous edition this guy is still no pushover. Having 22W, T8, and a 3+, this guy is pretty tough to kill. As with all of our big bugs, it has a degrading movement, BS, and attacks. He is armed with 2 Bio-cannons and Massive Scything Talons. The cannons are Heavy 6 (which doesn't matter as he's a TITANIC MONSTER) S8, AP-2, and D3 damage at BS 4+ to start. All in all, this guy is a pretty strong ranged unit. Like all scything talons, his re-roll 1s to hit, and with S10, AP-3 and D6 Damage at WS4+, this ranged monstrosity can hold his own in CC.

  • Both versions of the Hierodule have a special rule called Agile, which is simply Turbo-boost from most Biker units: they can advance a flat 6 inches instead of rolling. In addition, they roll 3d6 and drop the lowest when charging. This makes them remarkably quick when they need to be.

  • In terms of both cost (monetary and point wise) and stats, the Heirodules are very comparable to the imperial knight in 8th (especially with the latter getting a price hike). The Barbed Hierodule will deal more damage than a Knight Paladin at 36", even with the latter's higher BS (though if a Knight Paladin has a Stormspear Rocket Pod, it will inflict 0.33 more hits - and two of its hits will do 1.5 more damage). Regardless, it can give the other patterns a decent run for their money. However, the lack of invulnerable save and having 2 fewer wounds than a Knight can hurt a Hierodule in the long run.
    • One way to solve this is to use the new Adaptive Physiologies and give it the Dermic Symbiosis. This would increase its survivability immensely and the doubling wounds characteristic makes it hit harder for longer.
  • It can really benefit from hive fleet traits, Behemoth to re-roll his already impressive charge, Leviathan for a nasty 6+++, Jormugandr for the cover and so on. The Hydra one is really the only one wasted on him.
  • It takes relatively few missiles or lascannons shots this edition to cause a problem for both Hierodules. They're somewhat less effective as a Distraction Carnifex, which is a shame because that's really what they should be doing.
  • At its current points cost you would be better served by running 3x Exocrines instead of 1x Barbed Hierodule (more shots, 1 better BS, higher AP, reliable damage, and 14 more wounds).
    • Another alternative (if you really want to save points) is a 6-man unit of Hive Guard with Impaler Cannons. For only 258 points, they have the same 12 shots, 1 better BS, same strength, AP, and damage. What's better is that their shots ignore cover, they can fire twice for 2CP, and they don't need line of sight. So, you can keep them hidden from enemy fire while they cause their mayhem.

Scythed Hierodule
Hierodule with more pointy ends. And looks like an oversized Zergling.

The melee cousin of the Barbed Hierodule and cheaper by 30 points. Trades the bio cannons for an extra set of talons and a bio acid spray. This 8 attack monster wants to be in melee, so get him there quick. Degrades on movement, WS, and attacks.

  • In a fight between an Imperial Knight and a Scythed Hierodule, the entire fight can come down to a single lucky roll of the dice. The Hierodule has twice the number of attacks as a Knight and hit just as often (if not more so), but the Knight's reaper chainsword will deal more damage with each hit, taking huge chunks from your monster. Try and mitigate this by being the first to launch a charge and by softening up a knight before closing for the kill.
  • With the Adaptive Physiology: Dermic Symbiosis the Hierodule gains a distinct advantage over a Knight in melee, as it will have a 5++ save while its profile only degrades by 1/2. Stack with Catalyst for a 5+++ FNP. For 3CP the Hierodule can also fight twice, an ability that for Imperial Knights is hard-locked to only one Household. The Hierodule can also easily make a T1 charge with help from the Swarmlord's Hive Commander ability + Onslaught, with the caveat that you will need to clear a path through your opponents screens to get it where it needs to go.
This thing is kind of like if they made Big E playable.

Last edition, this cost nearly half an army's worth of points and was a bitch to take down without an opposing Lord of War. Now it costs over 1800 points and is all kinds of terrifying. Defensively, it's toughness 8, 2+/5++, and most importantly 50 fucking wounds. 38 average shots from lascannon Devastators and it still won't be dead, or 3600 lasguns to bring it down. Cast catalyst and you are almost immortal. Offensively it is almost as terrifying. For ranged - has two Macro 6 Dire biocannons that are S10 (which can double for the price of taking D3 mortal wounds, like Tau units overcharging), AP-2, 2D6 damage (doubled against buildings and other TITANIC units), and a heavy flamer that's pistol 2D6 shots. In Melee it has S10, 6 attacks base (degrades as it takes damage) at (degrading) WS3+, that it can use with Monstrous scything talons that is Sx2 AP-5 D2d6, or lashwhip pods that are SU AP-1 D1 and makes 3 to hit rolls per attack. In conjunction with its 12" base (degrading) movement, ability to walk over enemies, and massive footprint it is a threat anywhere it lays its gaze. It can also pick either incendiary ichor to deal mortal wounds to units that hurt it in melee, or an incubation chamber for transport capacity for troops units and tyrant/hive guard.

  • Note that unlike the Imperial/Chaos Titans and their Void Shields, your invulnerable save doesn't degrade and works against melee attacks as well as shooting attacks. Use this to your advantage, as the Hierophant is the only Titan which has an invulnerability save in prolonged combat, with imperials having no extra save while eldar Titans will lose there’s a turn later after not moving.
  • Maths-wise, the Hierophant will outshoot most targets once in range, with ONE of its guns dealing 18.6 wounds against a Warhound, meaning that if you dedicate all of the Hierophant's shooting something, it will die, unless it’s Reaver-size or up (see Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Apocalypse(8E) for the numbers).

It's a dragon

A 30 wound flying version of the barbed Hierodule. A titanic transport monster, the harridan has four damage tiers and a degrading M, WS, and BS. It is armed identical to the Barbed Hierodule with two bio-cannons and Massive Scything Talons. It's hyperactive metabolism rule allows it to add d6 to the cannons strength in return for taking d3 mortal wounds. It also retains a vector strike-like ability to deal d3 mortal wounds to a unit it flies over, and with a base move of 30", you can bet it will reach something. Finally, it can also carry 20 gargoyles into battle. Downside is that in a 1k point game, the Harridan will eat 4/5th of your points.

No text here.


  • Synapse and you: When choosing synapse units for your army, it's worth considering where they are going to be placed and what role they will fill. If you want an Exocrine providing fire support while your Broodlord and a unit of Genestealers advance, then having a cheap synapse unit (such as a Malanthrope or a bare bones unit of warriors) to babysit him will help keep him on target. Conversely, if you want a fast moving core of Hormagaunts to advance on the enemy, relying on a slow moving unit of Zoanthropes for synapse is asking for trouble. Walking Hive Tyrants, the Swarmlord, Broodlords, Maleceptors, and Trygon Primes can all keep pace with your basic assault units like Hormagaunts and Genestealers. If you intend to run fast units (12" move or higher), such as Raveners, Harpies, Crones, Gargoyles, or Sky-slashers, then adding Shrikes or a winged Hive Tyrant will help you keep up. If you intend to invest in Biovores, Exocrines, Hive Guards, or a Tyrannofex, consider taking a Tervigon (with associated termagant screen), a Malanthrope, or a unit of Zoanthropes. Warriors and Tyranid Primes are your flexible option. Equip them as required, but don't go overboard.
    • Don't forget the penalties for being outside of synapse aren't quite as terrifying anymore. Your guys will still run faster than a Slaaneshi daemon high on crack, so you can get around the targeting restrictions with careful unit placement - and some units, like Biovores or, if you're feeling silly, Lictors or Pyrovores, don't have a practical reason to care about Synapse.
  • Mortal Wound Spam: Tyranids have a ridiculous number of units that can cause mortal wounds either directly or indirectly. Zoanthropes with Smite, Biovores with spore mines (and the spore mines themselves), Mawlocs, Maleceptors, Venomthropes and Toxicrenes with their miasma, Pyrovores when they die, Harpies dropping spore mines, Hive Guard with shock cannons, Hive Crones with tentaclids, and a Carnifex on the charge, and the death spasms of almost all your monstrous creatures can all pile on mortal wounds. Keep these in mind when facing high durability units.
  • Brood Brothers: With the ability to add a detachment of Guards if you ally with GSC a whole new age of sweet, stinky cheese has come upon the bugs. Get an auxiliary detachment or a supreme command detachment if you want your CPs, fill it with two Magos and an Iconbearer then use a spearhead detachment for the Guard (for the Leman Russes with Objective Secured) and another 'specialist' detachment for the Tyranids. Use the Guards for ranged and mobile anti-armor or character assassination, It's a shame they can't take a Doctrine if taken this way, but hey- you can still legally take a Baneblade with your 'Nids.
  • Anti-Psyker: It cannot be underestimated how hard Nids shut down Psyker-heavy armies. Shadow in the Warp makes their powers harder to cast and Psychic Scream can force opponents to double-up on a power on different units just to make sure you don't completely make a power unusable and can make one power Psykers literally useless. Kronos turns this up a notch with its Warlord Trait and Stratagem. The Stratagem makes any WC7 power impossible to cast without a +2 bonus at minimum (poor, poor Farseers), and the Warlord Trait means that any casters get the equivalent of Perils upon any failed psychic test. It's a niche protection to be sure, but an important one considering the smite-spam meta.
    • I see this mistake a lot, Shadow in the warp do make the Powers harder to cast but it doesn't work on the opponnent's deny ability, it's a different test to take.
  • Threat Saturation: Tyranids' main playing style involves LOTS AND LOTS OF SHIT, you should be throwing so much shit that your opponent has no way to deal with them all at once (or at least think they can't). Do they shoot those Carnifexes advancing and threatening to charge? Or the Trygon Prime that just popped out with a brood of Genestealers about to slice his face off? Or maybe the Gaunts that just sprinted from halfway across the board that can tie up their artillery in the next turn? Or..."shit", they say as a Mawloc appears inside their deathstar or the wall of Spore Mines that they ignored is getting a bit too close. Remember the quote how if they militarised every Imperial citizen and if every shot that they make are kill shots then they wouldn't still be enough to kill the Tyranids? Apply that to your battle-plan and harvest those biomass!
    • Sadly, Space Marines, and Imperial Guard (maybe more) have the firepower to shoot every one of your units.

Specific Strategies[edit]

  • The Genestealer Slingshot This is a technique made popular on several competitive lists and is used to get a first-turn charge with Genestealers. You will need the Swarmlord, a broodlord, and a large unit of Genestealers all from Hive Fleet Kraken. This technique will also need 2-3 command points, plus potentially more for rerolls for crucial pyschic powers (The Resonance Barb relic can be key in this regard.)
    • First, move and Advance The Swarmlord and Broodlord into the midfield. Then use Metabolic Override to move the Broodlord even further ahead. (remember that you do not re-roll the Advance die when moving a second time. Instead, you use the modified Movement characteristic of the unit from the first time it Advanced.)
    • Secondly, use Opportunistic Advance on the Genestealers, but remember to leave at least one model within 6″ of The Swarmlord. In the following Shooting phase, use The Swarmlord’s Hive Commander ability to allow the Genestealers to move and Advance a second time. If needed apply Opportunistic Advance a second time to move even further. At the end ensure that at least one model is within 6″ of the Broodlord for his Brood Telepathy power. Follow this up with Synaptic Lure, Kraken's signature psychic power on your target of choice for re-rolling charge distance. Charge.
    • When the dust settles, your genestealers can have moved up to 40″ in a single turn, and will usually be in position to make a very easy charge.
  • Kronos Gunline Take 2-3 Neurothropes across 2-3 Kronos detachments. Equip one with the Resonance Barb relic and the Kronos power Symbiostorm. Now load up with 2-3 Exocrines, 3 hive guard units (two of which with Impaler Cannons, and one with Shock Cannnons), and one 3-man unit of Venomthropes. Two Exocrines should be equipped with Dermic Symbiosis for the 5++ and the padded damage table. Try to max out least two of the Hive Guard squads. Use your remaining points to fill out battalions with tyranid primes and as many min. squads of Termas/Hormas/Rippers as you can. The Impaler Hive Guard should immediately be hidden away in LOS blocking cover. Deploy everything else a little tight to maximize the Venomthropes' -1 to hit bubble. Come the Psychic Phase, you should have little trouble casting Symbiostorm with the Neurothropes' +1 to cast and re-rolling 1s. Take turns giving exploding 6s to your Exos and your Guard, as needed. Remember that your shooters shouldn't be doing much moving. You want to keep your re-roll hits of 1 intact. Let your Tyranid Primes, and your squads of little bugs run around to grab objectives and screen. Reserve a good portion of your CPs for giving an Exocrine +1 dmg, for letting an Exocrine move and shoot as if it stood still, and for letting hive guard shoot twice. Send your Shock Cannon Guard at vehicles of any toughness and dump a bucket of MWs on 'em...possibly twice! Get as much out of the Shock Cannons as you can early, because once your enemy sees how dangerous they are to their vehicles, they will mow them down. Nevertheless, you should have no problem wiping out a few vehicles/monsters/flyers (or at least 1 1/2 knights) per turn. What's more, Exocrines and Hive Guard also excel at killing Primaris EQ infantry. Two things to beware of with this play style: 1. Avoid close combat all together, but especially keep your shooters from getting charged. 2. Be prepared to deal with your enemy's backline shooters, specifically ones that don't need LOS. You can bring a Tyrannocyte to drop your Shock Cannon HG behind enemy lines and bid those Thunderfire Cannons, or Night Spinners goodbye.
  • Psychic Bomb Send 1 neurothrope with 2 groups of zoanthropes, you'll get 23 wounds of ++3 invulnerable flyng, preferible kraken, smite spaming, self healing, 1 rerolling, 2 spell monsters that can easily lock nonflyers in combat, making them unable to shoot or allowing other units to charge without fear of overwatch.
  • Termagant Bomb: Simple really, a 30-bug group of Termagants equipped with Devourers (maybe only 20-25 of them) appears from a Trygon tunnel, or a nearby Ravener if you're using the Jormungandr stratagem and want to save points (or if you're insane: Tyrannocyte). That's up to 180 S4 shots that will kill any hordes and almost anything else. Best used to clear away bubble wrap for your gribblies to get to the enemies' gooey insides. Somewhat weakened by the nerfs to deep strike, but still a fairly viable strategy. It just isn’t the amazing alpha strike it once was.
  • Old One Eye and the Tusker Gang: Get a brood of Carnifexes, and equip them all with dual Scything Talons, bone mace, tusks, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, and spore cysts, and add Old One Eye. This gets you some pretty speedy and deadly second wave melee monsters with 5 (6 after charging) S6 AP-3 D3 (4 on a wound roll of 6) hitting on 2+ rerolling 1s on the charge attacks on top of the mortal wounds they cause just for charging. Kraken recommended for the ability to keep charging the same unit repeatedly, but don't use the stratagem; you want all of them to be in range of OOE's aura. Great for murdering TEQs, and can deal some pretty heavy damage to vehicles. While the Carnifexes themselves aren't that expensive, costing 111 each, OOE is, so it's recommended to use this in high-point games.