Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Overdue book: Tyranid Library part 5

It's past time to get back on track with an overdue library update.  The past few weeks have seen several excellent articles, but the ones that really got me thinking are a few that talk about using Tyranid warriors.  To be clear, these aren't warrior tactica articles, but no-kidding this is how to conceptualize a list that includes or is based on warriors. This is a continuing thread I've followed since looking at Tyranid MSU.

Abusepuppy writes a very intriguing article here – but make no mistake, while the four different lists he presents are interesting – there are three very critical parts of the article; the first is where he discusses speed and arrival:

Speed is one problem with Warriors; to take full advantage of them, you want to be using both their shooting and melee abilities, which means not Running most of the time; this, in turn, makes them a full one to two turns slower than things like Raveners, Shrikes, Genestealers, Hormagaunts, etc, at arriving in combat. All-melee Warriors are possible, but they will always need forward elements to draw fire and tie up enemy units so that they can arrive to do their bloody work. More often than not, though, Warriors (like Tervigons and other "midfield" units) are going to be well behind the front lines of a fight, doing their best to support other units.

Why is this so interesting?  Confirmation bias of course!  Warriors are on the same movement-to-contact timeline as Tervigons, and their roles are very nearly identical – which we’ve also heard here from TheGraveMind previously, and again here, where he talks about the pros and cons of close-combat (dual bonesword, tox) warriors.  One of the more interesting pros he mentions is the mathhammer on a Tyranid warrior vs. a Terminator: a 2+ Terminator means statistically it takes 6 shots to kill one terminator; a W3 4+ warrior also takes 6 shots to kill; so long as we aren’t talking S8 AP3 or higher…  which in turn dovetails back to the second part of Abusepuppy’s post after the jump:

But most importantly is their model vulnerability. Warriors perform very well against most weapons, but they are very prone to taking horrendous casualties from those S8 attacks that are often floating around these days. Missiles and Power Fists are both the bane of Tyranid players and Warriors are quite unhappy with both of them. Sending them to engage TH/SS Terminators, getting caught by Long Fangs, or jumping in with a Tactical Squad with a Power Fist (a poor unit upgrade, but a common mistake) can cause some really unpleasant things to happen.

It is this vulnerability that gives Tyranid warriors a most precious value for your list: target saturation.  Abusepuppy’s third paragraph sums this up nicely:

This is useful to us with Warriors because, even though they are nominally infantry targets, they are vulnerable to the same heavy weapons that are used to kill monstrous creatures and other big targets, so there is an inclination of opponents to shoot these guns at them. For one, this is a trap- the effectiveness of a Missile Launcher against a Warrior is actually rather low, since the Warrior gets a cover save against it, whereas a monstrous creature rarely will. But for two, we can also take advantage of this fact by putting MCs and T4 multiwound creatures into our list, thus saturating the enemy with targets he wants to shoot his big guns at. These two factors are going to be the fundamental of any list featuring Warriors: entice him to shoot the wrong guns at the wrong targets and give him lots and lots of targets to pick from.

Great news – target saturation is solid gold.  Some apologies now though – and a bit of frustration for the librarian here – I read and now can’t find an excellent article on the poor Tyranid showing at highly competitive tourneys partially being caused by lack of playing speed – i.e. needing to move 90+ models every turn simply doesn’t allow sufficient playing time to get to Turn 5 or beyond in most tournaments, especially when you can’t stuff stacks of 10-20 into a trukk or something.  Not having played in any tournaments, I can’t vouch for it, but slowness of play seems to be a common theme (MVB dropped his ‘nids largely because of the slow playing speed).

Somewhere, there is a middle ground – and I’m convinced that middle ground includes warriors, simply because they are the only resilient replacement for Tervigon+gants in the troops FOC.  Like vanilla marines, Tyranid warriors are mostly good at most things, but not *really* good at anything.

On to more library goodness though.  Courtesy of HoP, I found Stormy’s blog, Touched by greatness. And pressing charges.  The nifty bit here is he’s a Tyranid player in Ireland, working to get onto the Irish ETC team.  Some excellent batreps, and the expected self-deprecating humor is definitely on the menu.  Always good to have a differing viewpoint from across the pond.

Next up is Lyracian’s Playing Dice with the Universe blog – not only does he have some atypical lists and the batreps to back them up, but he even touches on a favorite topic with a Tyranid flair: etymology

And finally – and with a good deal of personal anticipation for the future: Purgatus, late of YTTH fame, has moved on to his own blog, Best Overall.  I’ve had a couple back-and-forth posts with him in the past on Swarmy, and am looking forward to another solid blog with good Tyranid info.


  1. Just so you know- At the recent Conflict GT held in the Northeast (a no-comp event), Tyranid Lists placed 6th and 7th.

    This was a highly competitive event, with many high profile bloggers attending.

    Promising results for the Nids.

    And, BTW, thanks for what your doing. Nice work, and keep it up!

  2. Thanks for the shout out about my Tyranid etymology. If anyone has additions let me know.

  3. Waiting to find the lists and/or batreps for the nids - the one pic on the ConflictGT site has 3-4 dakkafexes on the scenery board =)

  4. I'm curious about the lists, too...did they bring the Prime/Hive Guard/Tervigon 'Template,' or was it something different?
    Would be nice if the TO's posted lists.
    List of winners in 40k are here-
    3 Tyranid players, and 2 of them in the top 10, and the 3rd at 20 outta 56!
    That's pretty good in my book.
    Our eventual conquest of the 40k universe begins......