Saturday, April 30, 2011

Update to: Updates and Forum-y Goodness - Tyranid Library

I realized this morning that I posted the wrong draft yesterday - here's the article as intended, with the promised "individual posts"!

I blink and it's been a few weeks again since I've updated - apologies for the lack of sauce...  On the hobby front, I've started painting (slowly) and managed to get base colors down on an entire 4 termagants (lol).  I have managed to put together a trygon, several more warriors, 20+ gargoyles, and resume eBay raiding for the few parts and figs I still need.   Life hasn't been kind with papa Nurgle visiting me, then the first lady.  Very stoked that my fledgling hivefleet managed an excellent raid on Planet Petco and picked up several clearance trees, plants, and then a quick trip to Home Depot netted me 3x 24"x48" boards - I now have a fully functional battle station! er..  battle table.  Time to start pulling out the Eldar and doing mock deployments against my Tyranids...

At any rate, enough about hobby and laziness.  Today I want to talk briefly about a few forum posts (individual posts mind you, not the boards themselves) that I've found to be quite illuminating.  The first is the Tyranid Unit Formations post on TheTyranidHive.  Nevermind the horrendous vibrating red on black font, the material is an excellent primer, detailing the Fexstar, Triple Trygon, and a few other useful background knowledge setups.  Unfortunately, trying to dredge through the TyranidHive is eyeball torture for me; I'm sure there are other excellent posts, but I don't have the patience to put up with an unpleasant browsing experience to muck through them.

Fortunately there are quite a few other forums dedicated to 40k...  and here's a few excellent articles.  One of the best articles of this edition of the library comes from Heresy Online: an article on Tyranid Synergy by Oddjob.  This is a must read, especially for newer players.  Also from Heresy Online is the expected comprehensive overview from Midge913 - in this case a very solid article with very good information and excellent format: Tyranids: A comprehensive Unit, Formation, and Bio-morph review.  I personally have some pretty strong disagreements with the D grade for the Parasite though... =)

Several years ago I absolutely loved 40k Online's community, back when it was Eldar Online.  I hoped for the same experience when it came to Tyranids, but was rather bummed as there really didn't appear to be a lot of expertise there - in fact that was one of the reasons I started MLGC.  Nonetheless, a few months later they've managed a well put-together 5th edition overview article here: The 5th Ed. Tyranid Tactics Display Thread (Don't Post in Me!)

After that, one of the better places to go is the 40k Battle Reports section of Dakkadakka.  There are nearly always front page battles involving a Tyranid force.  Some are great, some are less than great, but you can learn from nearly every one.  Read as many as you can, even if you only check this once a week or even more rarely, batreps are the best way to get a feel for what works, to see big mistakes and the mindsets that lead to them, and generally get a feel for how other players try to deal with Tyranid units and list types.  Most importantly, this is where you will get an idea for the composition of other lists and which present larger threats - especially if you're like me and don't own all the other codexes, let alone memorize them. Here are some recent examples of worthwhile reads from the Dakka 40k Batreps forum:
[Poll] 2000pts Competitive Grey Knights vs. Janthkin's Tyranids 
The New Grey Knights vs Tyranids 2K - The Debut of the Dreadknight and Interceptors (Completed)
Jy2 does excellent batreps, and everyone seems to be rather focused on GKs lately...
[Pics] Old school Crimson Fists vs. Tyranids 1900 points
A Missions book scenario - don't see too many of these, and the batrep is very well done.
2.5k Nids Winner Takes All/Single Elim Tourny
This is a fun batrep with a stealer shock list from hell.

I do want to take a quick moment to wish hyv3mynd luck as the ATC Tyranid representative at the upcoming tournament.  Stop by and check out his posts on the format, list thoughts, and playtesting.  The more we pull together as a Tyranid community to help each other, the better we all get.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Biovore D'Oeuvre

For the French-challenged, "d'oeuvre" roughly translates to "of the main" - I liked the turn of phrase, but it actually lends itself well to the point of this article:  the Biovore as a high(er) value list choice.  The dancing termagant, however, is just a touch of class...  

I've briefly touched on the biovore in my dusty books article here, but SinSynn has been pushing for a more robust article for a while.  With my paucity of play, I can't promise a perfect how-to, but I will point out some common situations I've seen in batreps that represent a strategic capability gap which can be filled by biovores.  The short version is this: In the course of a typical game, there are inevitable gaps in spacing and timing where we are unable to get troops into assault within 1 turn.  Enter the humble biovore.

First up is the basics: for about half the cost of a Tfex, and 2/3 the cost of a dakkafex, you get a brood of 3 BS4 biovores with an Assault 1, 48" range, large blast, pinning, barrage, S4 AP4 gun.  Like the tervigon and Parasite, biovores bring a points-add mechanic - they shoot Spore Mines, which are 10pts apiece if we were to purchase them for our list outright.  That's +150pts over a 5-turn game.  That's not a good reason by itself to field the little buggers though, but 48" range is definitely a Turn 1 offensive option, especially for troops that can be clustered due to deployment restrictions.

Speaking of deployment restrictions, this is one of the tactical gems that taking biovores can offer the enterprising general:  don't want those pesky opponent's troops or light armor/flyers to zoom down a particular avenue of approach?  Seed it with Spore Mines.  Want to catch retreating troops in a KP game?  Seed the retreat paths with Spore Mines.   This is an error - my second edition rules familiarity is showing through; per pg 30 of the 5th edition rulebook - "when firing a blast weapon... just pick one enemy model [minus the "visible to the firer" due to the barrage aspect] and place the blast marker with its hole over the base of the target model, or its hull if a vehicle"; i.e. you must fire at an enemy unit.  Correction is this: even if you miss, that scatter *may* block the avenue of approach or retreat.  

Let's talk myths and measurements for a moment.  Tyranids are a horde/assault army - blast templates and scatter dice are bad.  If I miss with a biovore, I'll just blow my own troops up, right?  Not so fast! Re-read pg 48 of the Tyranid codex: blah blah - if no enemy within 6" of the central hole, place Spore Mines instead, then use Living Bomb rules.  Living Bomb rules: if a Spore Mine suffers a wound, touches an enemy model, impassable terrain, or it ends any Movement phase w/in 2" of an enemy model it explodes.  If it drifts into a friendly unit, it is removed from play.  What the heck does that mean?  Basically this: if it scatters, you're unit is safe unless there is a) enemy w/in 8.5 inches or less, or b) impassable terrain within 2.5 inches.  (5" large blast template)  For the former, with a BS of 4, you can roll boxcars for scatter and be safe.  So be mindful of impassable terrain, and don't leave a Spore Mine within 2.5 inches of your troops during an opponent's turn - if he's smart, he'll shoot it - which will hurt you.

Moving on to several batrep examples with good opportunities after the jump....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not Quite a Batrep - plus Hobby Update

First - the quick and easy: hopefully this slideshow thing works; one would hope as Google owns Blogger and Picasa.  Pics are of my WIP Harpy and complete but unpainted Parasite of Mortrex.  Pay no mind to the horrendous base on the Harpy...  that was the base the Fell Beast came with from Ebay; but not a bad result for a $15 Harpy with broken wings and no tail.  Not shown are my newly built two shiny dakkafexes and 6-strong unit of DS, scytal, VC warriors.  

Next up is this 'not quite a batrep' business.  A somewhat long story, but the important parts are that I finally got to play a couple 5e games with my nids, learned quite a bit, and met some really neat folks.

I went down to Games and Stuff last week and met a few Inner Circle folks, where I saw a post about a 40k tournament at synDCon on the same weekend of Adepticon run by the FAIL Gamers group.  My Saturday was unexpectedly clear, so I stayed up all night getting a playable if unpainted force together, then found out the tourney was canceled due to lack of registered entrants, but FAIL would still be running open gaming.  I figured if enough people showed, the tourney would be a go, or at worst, get a pickup game or two in, plus it was a convention - lots to do.  Turned out to be a very RPG heavy con, with almost two dozen tables of various RPGs running all day, but precious little else.  Salvation arrived in the form of FAIL's president, Gorath, bringing two tables worth of terrain and a couple armies to demo with.  Lessons learned after the jump...