Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Report from the Bandwagon: New Models - Same Complaints

In case you've been under a rock and hiding from the 40k blog/forum-o-sphere, GW will be releasing new Tyranid models in March. I could hardly call myself a 'tyranid blogger' if I didn't make some sort of obligatory post about the new models as it will definitely impact the greater 'meta' of the tyranid game.  Not a big impact mind you - first and foremost, tervigons and tyrannofexes use the big oval 120mm base.  Nice to have some official sizing [insert rant about the lack of GW customer service that made this more of a surprise than it should have been here].  Aside from the base size and bulk of the new models, the rest of the impact is probably pretty nil, except to point out that the thousands of players who have scratch-built tervigons and tfexes may buy one or two, but most won't bother, or may buy bits from ebay or elsewhere to trick their scratch-built models up to size spec.  I'll be buying three simply because I haven't gotten around to scratch-building any tfexes and will use one as a reference model for my other tervigons in tournament play to manage 'modeling for advantage' issues.  The next impact to the meta is a probably small influx of new players: with a mostly complete line, the new models will certainly attract some new tyranid players who avoided starting tyranids simply because the price of entry was scratch-building a minimum of two tervigons.  From a competitive standpoint, that's pretty much it.  Which brings up the last line of the title:  same complaints:

Barring some pretty impressive FAQ updates or WD rule changes, the general perceived state of the tyranid codex as a viable tournament option is pretty dismal with little hope for change until 6e.  I've been reading more blogs than posting anything lately, watching and reading every tyranid blog and batrep I can find in hopes that someone, somewhere, has unlocked the 'secret' of the codex that the rest of us have missed.  No luck.  Fritz and Black Blow Fly have been working on null deployment lists in varying forms with varying successes, while Abusepuppy has been drafting a revised codex trying to get the codex to a competitively viable form.  I've been reading some of jy2's excellent Apocalypse batreps on Dakka lately which have got me jonesing for some Apoc - balance be damned, that looks like a good time.  In the end, that's why I play tyranids: I like the fluff, it's fun to be the 'bad guy' regardless of the outcome of the game, and most of the models are simply outstanding.  This is why the new models will ultimately be a success for GW:  most of us who play simply have an affinity, a soft spot, call-it-what-you-will, a built-in stubbornness, for the gribbly horde.  Sadly, GW will see only the small profit, rejoice, and not realize the opportunity tyranids present from a business standpoint.  Here's why; take a look at the models they are releasing and the price points:

Tyranid Hive Tyrant / The Swarmlord 3-Mar-12 $53.75 New Plastic
Tyranid Tyrannofex / Tervigon  3-Mar-12 $57.75 New Plastic
Tyranid Boneswords Pack 3 x 'Pair of Boneswords' 3-Mar-12 $19.75 New Resin
Tyranid Lash Whip & Bonesword Pack 3 x 'Lash Whip & Bonesword' 3-Mar-12 $19.75 New Resin
Deathleaper 1 Fig Box 3-Mar-12 $24.75 Repackaged Resin
Old One Eye 1 Fig Box 3-Mar-12 $41.25 Repackaged Resin
Tyranid Biovore 1 Fig Box 3-Mar-12 $41.25  Repackaged Resin
Tyranid Spore Mine Cluster 9 Fig Box 3-Mar-12 $24.75 Repackaged Resin
The Red Terror 1 Fig Box 3-Mar-12 $41.25 Repackaged Resin
Tyranid Ripper Swarm Brood 1 Base Clampack 3-Mar-12 $13.25 Repackaged Resin

Boneswords and lashwhips are some of the most sought-after parts on ebay for tyranid players, often fetching $10 or more for a single pair.  This is a pretty smart move - except for the fact they are resin.   I'll continue to get mine from other sources, thanks.  Old One Eye... the old version, repacked in resin form.  Why in the world would I get that if I have a regular 'fex kit?  You know, the one that comes with an OOE head and crushing claws?  Sure, the resin is a bit cheaper than a regular carnifex... but so is buying just the bits you need.  Same goes for spore mines - didn't they have a plastic spore mine sprue available from a box set they could have used?  Why bother, when you can blow thousands of dollars to retool a resin machine for that and triple the price you charge for them!  For that matter, why not do that circa two years ago?  I can't even begin to fathom the support for The Red Terror as a resin model: at least spore mines have current rules.  RT has had no current rules for two years, and they tooled up a resin line for it?  Please tell me this is a harbinger that they plan on a stealth codex update.  I wonder how many models they have to sell to recoup this 'investment'.  Mycetic spores, the Parasite of Mortrex, warrior primes, and malanthropes (yes, it has conventional 40k rules in the new Apoc book and is a freakishly cool model) all represent further opportunities lost.  Not to mention warrior-sized wings.  Yup.  New models are cool, and I'll buy a couple.  But nowhere near as many as I would with just a tiny bit more investment and forethought on GW's part to make a strategic update to the tyranid line, rather than a two year old bone thrown to starving dogs.

At any rate - I'd highly recommend taking some time to seek out and admire the many wonderful, inspiring, creative scratch-built tervigons and tyrannofexes out there.  While a frustrating two year gap has gotten narrower, this spells at least a reduction if not the end of a 'golden age' of creativity for tyranid players, who got to showcase their amazing talents and demonstrate a large part of what this hobby is about: adding something entirely your own to the 40k universe.


  1. Alternately players now how two new plastic kits to convert, including inter-operatability to make Harpies from Trygons and spare Tyrant wings, extra bits to make custom monstrocities, and just plain old new kits to customize.

    I mean, I've converted all of my Hormagaunts. Not that people notice, because I've converted them all to have their Scything Talons tucked up rather than spread out. And since all of my Carnifexen have a similar quadrupedal stance I'm pretty jazzed out the new models.

    Just pointing out that it's kind of weird that you castigate GW for producing new Tyranid kits for some units so that the entry barrier is lowered, and then castigate them for not producing new kits of other units. It's kind of a paint-pot is half-empty vibe.

  2. The entire point of the post is the glass half-full argument ;)

    It wasn't my intent to castigate the new kits that clearly make sense, Tyrant/Swarmlord and Terv/Tfex are great and long overdue - hooray! Not sure what you're reading that gives that impression. On the other hand, OOE/RT etc... just don't pass the common sense test. Flame on!

  3. Interesting views, Ghostin. I'm glad you've enjoyed the era of scratch-builds. :) I've just converted a t-fex (and will be posting pics to my blog ;) ) and fortunately it's already on a trygon base, so it should still be legal I hope. Still, I plan on getting a t-fex kit just the same. Here's hoping 6th edition continues the good news for 'nid fans!

  4. Sheesh the new stuffs from GW sure is expensive!

    I had a lotta fun, and learned a lot, by building proxies for many of the models in the 'Nid 'dex.
    I suppose GW sold enough 'Fex kits to converters, and decided it was time to try and make everyone purchase official versions.
    Did sales of Juggernaughts slow down enough to make them release T-Wolves? Or did they realize what a blunder they made not rushing those things out the door right after the book dropped?

    Were they tired of seeing lil' companies make big money by offering decent substitutes for these things?

    Who knows with GW?
    A few years too late, and I give my money to Battlefront and Corvus Belli right now.
    I'll check back in when 6th comes...whenever that happens.
    According to the rumors, that could be tomorrow, or in 70 years, or during a lunar eclipse, or when a meteor strikes the earth, or....

  5. Jokes aside, it's interesting that it used to be that people complained about GW doing splash releases, putting everything out when a Codex/Army-Book was released, and then essentially ignoring that army until it came time to revamp the Codex to put it in line with the new edition. Of course, now that the releases are staggered, presumably following the old consensus that doing so would help maintain player interest, there are complaints that GW should have shovelled it all out the door in one go.