Friday, August 10, 2012

Subterranean Assault Revisited

GW still seems to be scared of Subterranean Assault so I thought I'd take a closer look under 6e.  

I was thinking on making this the next 'Tyranid Library' article, but after iterating through it, decided it more aptly fits (along with Flyrant Kites) under the "stupid Tyranid tricks" category.  Someday I'll get around to tagging my posts..

Bottom Line Up Front: It still isn't anything to base an army around, at best it's a bottom of the tool bag tactic that's more of a low-value insurance policy.  You know, the 15 cents per year on the life insurance policy to cover death by penguin.  It's only available if you use reserves, and in turns 3+, you want the slight advantage of not having your still-hasn't-shown-up non-winged infantry unit walk on from the edge of the board.  Call out the OPP!  That's Over Powered Police, not what you're thinking, SinSynn.

Let's check the math, and take a quick look at what SA offers:  After a Trygon emerges from deep strike, you place a base-sized marker - note this is a Trygon base so it's pretty big.  Totally sounds cool, right?!  Think again.  In subsequent turns, Tyranid infantry units without wings can arrive from reserve from this tunnel.  No shrikes!  Place the entire unit so all models are within 6" of the marker and in unit coherency; unit cannot move or assault, but it can run or shoot normally.  No more than one unit can emerge from each tunnel in the same turn.  The FAQ also has some caveats: units that have been allocated as arriving from reserve using deep strike or outflanking may NOT instead choose to use the SA marker.

Thus beginneth the long chain of 'ifs':
- If in the half of your force you're allowed to reserve, you reserve at least one Trygon, and at least one infantry unit...
- if said non-winged infantry unit isn't allocated to arrive via deep strike or outflank
- if the aforementioned Trygon makes its reserve roll to come on the board a turn before the infantry unit(s) on Turn 2 or 3.
- if you somehow manage to fail reserve rolls for the infantry units on turns 2 and 3, (new in 6e!) they automatically come in on turn 4.

In other words:  best case: on turn 3 at the earliest, you can bring on one infantry unit per turn from the place your Trygon emerged on turn 2.  Then on Turn 4, you can bring out one more unit.  Thanks 6e! 

In a desperate attempt to be realistic, I can see it coming up for people using triple Trygon lists, facing some sort of gunline, DoA or maybe daemons where you really wanted to protect your infantry units till the end.  Whether a small unit of warriors or a big horde unit coming out of reserve onto an objective on Turn 4 could be worth doing, especially with the fearless changes.  The challenge is failing the reserve rolls starting on Turn 2.  Could happen, I have the Ordo Inepticus dice to prove it from last year's NOVA.

So for the Hive Fleet Bandwagon folks who've bought your shiny new FMC flyrant and are wondering whether Subterranean Assault is part of the supr sekrit WAAC netlist of tnrayid turnarid toydirnads bugs taktiks, the answer is no, no it isn't.

For you hobby types, if you want a really nifty marker for that once-in-a-lifetime Subterranean Assault, or a great addition to a base or display board:  I really like this one from Ramshackle Games:

1 comment:

  1. If your opponent rolled a 5 on Strategic Warlord Traits it might come up.

    Even the triple trigon list is going to struggle to get to use it more than one game in twenty. Shame since it is such a nice idea that is poorly executed.