Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Learn to play first - then worry about whose codex is better

Hopefully by now if you're a Tyranid player you've been reading blog after blog, forum after forum, hoping beyond hope that someone, somewhere has unlocked the magic secret of Hivemind domination.  I hope you haven't been holding your breath.  As someone whose rule knowledge at the last NOVA was a source of considerable shame, I urge you not to repeat my mistake as you move forward in the brave new world of sixth edition for Tyranids.  You know, that new edition where we all still have hope, because we can't point to a long string of tournaments that don't have a Tyranid list in the top 4 while blissfully ignoring the dozens of results with 'nids in the top 10, and especially ignoring the smaller tournaments where a Tyranid player did actually win.

Just like in fifth, and every prior edition, your savvy management and grasp of your units' capabilities, nuances of movement in every phase of the game (yes, this means outside the movement phase too), is absolutely key to winning.  Tyranids do NOT play like anything else in the game.  Skills do not necessarily transfer; you need experience and practice.  It probably helps to have a masochistic streak (seriously - try painting 100+ gants.)  The cinematic rules of sixth edition make your ability to manage movement effectively even more of an absolutely key skill.  Not only to avoid the more shooty aspect of the game, but to even get your claws and teeth and poisoned bits into the places your opponent definitely doesn't want them.

If you're like me and not getting enough playtime (read into that all you like) you should be reading batreps and looking out for rule tutorials.  Not enough time for a full game or no opponent?  Set up mini-scenarios, use Vassal, whatever you need to do - but get familiar with how your units move, what formations do you use to survive overwatch and get into contact?  To wound allocate to your best advantage?  Where does your broodlord, prime, or PoM go in the brood?  Front, middle, side, or back?  Against which opponents?  Just how nasty is a vector strike from a Harpy?  What if it's followed up by a spore mine bomb run?  And then a TL strangler cannon shot?  How do you play zoanthropes as buff-bots instead of tank hunters?  Tervigons are now assault monsters: how does that change your playstyle and list building from a target priority standpoint.

What about those other codexes?  What do you have to worry about?  Have you seen the batreps with 6 night scythes and 3 doom scythes?  How about those 14-vehicle, 3-dreadnought lists?  Both should concern you.  Don't even consider a stealer shock list.  I made it down to the recent pre-NOVA tournament at our local GW bunker and watched the one Tyranid player leave disillusioned about his army all over again.  He went in without really understanding just how much overwatch can hurt.  I think two of his six 13-model (all with broodlords) units actually made it into combat.  You need to be playtesting against the units you're going to face, and be thinking of what you're going to do against gauntlet lists like those above.

It's all well and good to get an idea for how the new units work on paper, on blogs or forums.  Just like in 5th edition, the player on your side of the table makes all the difference.  Playing a mirror match: it should come down to dice and whoever makes the biggest mistake.  And we all make them.  So don't be me.  Learn the rules, learn how to play.  We need a new generation of Tyranid players to go out and beat some Imperial face.  And that won't happen if you do nothing more than look for the uber Tyranid netlist to pwn them all, and in the darkness slorp up their bio-matter.

Oh and one more thing - there's some rumors out there the GW knows Tyranids need a boost and are working on it.  Join the hive mind before it's cool.  Don't join Hive Fleet Bandwagon.


  1. Time to start hitting ebay before the bandwagoners drive up prices.

  2. I'm about to play in one last 5th edition tournament this weekend and I'm bring out my Nids for it. I'm hoping that my accumulation of knowledge from the past 4+ years of playing them will help make a difference. I've been able to go toe-to-toe with many of the local best players, GK, DE and play to almost draws, losing last turn, or by one die roll, or tertiary objectives.

    6th ed is a whole new game, one that will take a lot of skill and maneuvering to be able to pull out what we have in the past. not undo able, but like any game with Nids, it may be an uphill battle.

  3. Good luck TGM; hope to read about it :-) What kind of list are you bringing?

  4. Bio matter is delicious, and so good for you, too.