Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carnifexes: Can you make them work?

I admit it, I'm trying to like the Carnifex in the codex. But, the question is, what do I use it for? With the plethora of new critters/options, it's now a good question as to just what you CAN do with the 160-point bugger.
What Does it Have Going For it?
Well, you have good ol' Monstrous Creature durability. T6, four wounds, and a 3+ armor save. And, now, you can take 1-3 per slot (more on that later...). You start with four WS4, S9, I1 attacks (I3 on the charge, and you're the one thing in the fething book that can take frags; go figure). You start with double scything talons, so you can re-roll anything you don't tag, and you'll generally hit on 4's (barring vehicles, crappy troops, or assault troops). Lone carnifexes can also take mycetic spores.

What Can it do?
Now, here comes the real question: just what are you going to DO with the carnifex? Basically, you're going to think about either shooting OR assaulting, since you can't do both at the same time. Furthermore, buying guns loses you one or both sets of scything talons, which seriously impacts your ability to wreck things in melee.

Note also that in a unit, each 'fex must be equipped identically; I guess there's just too much room to abuse three seperate carnifexes for wound allocation. (Then again, they could theoretically soak 10 wounds before losing ANY combat effectiveness, so yeah.)

So, for shooty, the options are:
1) Take a Heavy Venom Cannon.
It's reasonable for suppressing fire, as S9 can usually get hits on vehicles and slow them down. On the negative side, it's still -1 to damage rolls and you're only BS3.

While you're CHEAPER than a Tyrannofex (he's 265 with his rupture cannon, you're pushing 200) he's much better at killing armor with two S10 shots, and landing at least one of them 75% of the time.

2) Take a Stranglethorn Cannon
Mmm, S6 large blast. Ok, doesn't do crap-all against vehicles (well, nothing that a Hive Guard can't do better and cheaper) and it's okay for anti-personnel work, but that's still an 'eh' weapon, all things considered.

3) Devourers
Bright side? You're twin-linked. Down side? You're short ranged (almight 18") and not going to hurt vehicles at all. If you're committed to going shooty, take them to get a little extra oomph (points permitting) and if not, well, honestly, you should have more efficient ways of killing infantry.

When it comes to assault:
1) Crushing Claws
...leave them at home. 25 points for +d3 attacks. You have four with re-rolls, or you can get 5-7 without re-roll. You need dice to go in your favor to get any mileage out of this; with 4+ to hit you need to get 6 attacks to get mileage; with a 3+ you need to get all +3 attacks to make it work for you.

2) Adrenal Glands
Yay, Furious Charge! IF you actually get the charge, you got at I4, S10 (since you get +2I on the charge for being a really big, angry thing). The only time you'll care about being S10 is against Wraithlords and AV14. AV10 rears get auto-penetrated by S9, and you should be able to tag AV14 on average; 2d6 usually gets a 6-7. Leave 'em at home.

3) Frag Spines
...if you have five points, I guess? Mostly, this is for getting to go before stuff like units full power powerfists, since you still don't go before dreads (unless you bought Furious Charge). It's cheap, so it falls into the filler category.

4) Toxin Sacks
You're S9. Unless it's a wraithlord, you wound it on a 2+. This beats a re-rolled 4+. You already nuke multi-wound T4 on a 2+. You don't need these, frankly.

Now, Why Would We Use This?
So, you want to shoot? The Hive Tyrant is comparable in terms of weapons and BS, and brings you better support abilities for the guns you can get. In a pinch, you can ALSO get tyrant guard and get more durability.

If you want to kill heavy armor, the Tyrannofex is more expensive, but has a better gun for killing heavy tanks. It also has nastier point-blank weaponry, a better save, more wounds, and loses one attack and one WS (and is only S6, but BIG DEAL).

If you want to drop-pod it, you're inferior to the trygon. It's faster (thanks to fleet), it's got a gun (for what it matters; BS3 with assault 6, S5, AP5), more attacks (6) and it has more wounds. The spore gets a gun, but gives up a KP (or VP) as well. Frankly, I'd consider going with the Trygon here.

So, then, what would we use the carnifex for? Stuff shoots better and deep-strikes better. Also, Warriors are a source of power weapon attacks (though Warriors are more expensive) and a Tyrant + guard CAN be a nasty counterassault element. S9 insta-kills most multi-wound stuff you'd want to insta-kill. So, it IS a potential substitute for Warriors and nasty counter-assault.

Using Them...
My thought is thus: Keep them on foot, MAYBE take frag spine if you have them. There's no benefit to the assault upgrade, and there are better guns.

Run them at the enemy as a target. Bring along either hormagaunts or termagants as a means of KO'ing infantry, bring some guns to take care of enemy tanks, and go to town. I don't think it's necessarily the best way to go, but I think you might be able to work it.

Possible Example...

I would start with something like this:

6 Hive Guard (for killing light transports; could go up to more) [300]
2 Tyrannofexes (for long range fire) [330]
Unit of 2 Carnifexes (no upgrades) [320ish]

This is about 1,000 points. You've got a good set of four monstrous creature; I'd think about more. You've got the means to dismount the enemy infantry; you just need synapse.

An Alpha hiding in the hive guard is an option. Alternatively, a couple of Tyrants could be nasty mobile synapse; if you're going with hormagaunts you could try to give 'em Preferred Enemy.

Tervigons boost your MC count, at least.

Anyone else got any thoughts on using Carnifexes? This is the best I've got. When I get back to my codex, I'll crank out a list. Again, I'm not sure this is the best way to run bug, but it's what I've got. Throw the Carnies out there to draw fire; if they CAN get into assault they can do some damage.


The_King_Elessar said...

I think they're pretty bad.

Raptor1313 said...

Oh, I'm with you. This is the best I can make of it.

They just compete poorly with too much.

At this point, I'd consider e-baying a couple of them for cheap (hey, pre-assembled is fine if it's with talons) and do it every now and then for the lolz, and becaue it looks nasty.

That's really, honestly it.

Chumbalaya said...

On foot in broods with Tervigon support or with dual devourers, and that's about it really.

Devs do have S6 and while they're only AP-, they make for a good suppression weapon. They aren't gonna kill tanks, but they will shut them down.

Overall, yeah, color me unimpressed.

Faolain said...

I tried out Bio-Plasma with a Mycetic Spore the other day and it did work pretty well. He killed a tank and then got fried the next turn. The spore killed more models than the fex, unfortunately. I wonder if a brood of carnifices would work better than a lone guy.

Damon said...

Carnifexes are your bargain-basement MC that can do anything you ask of it. It's the jack-of-all trades that can be efficiently kitted out for anything you desire. It's perfect out-of-the-box (best if taken in at least a 2-model brood, but I ain't gonna complaint about a 160 pt fire magnet that cannot be ignored by any sane opponent), but even heavily upgraded won't cost you more than a Trygon, which is what most people seem convinced is what the Carnifex shoiuld be compared to.

Speaking of which, Trygons ar eadmittedly very cool and flexible, but they're pricier, they can't quite cut it against land raiders (which are common enough to count for serious consideration), and it is impossible to give them cover saves. Meanwhile, it is simplicity itself to give your carnifexes cover saves. In my experience so far, carnifexes are actually more survivable than trygons because of this fact.

There is no other MC in the codex as tough, strong, or generally useful as the carnifex at that points cost. I'm not saying that the costs for the other MCs are too high. What I AM saying is that you get a lot of bang for your Carnifex buck. IMHO, it's a steal.

jabberjabber said...

Its a pity that the new rules aren't encouraging as many people to field carnifexes as before. I think the miniatures are very cool.
I agree with you about fielding them "naked" - they're not too bad for 160 points just "as is".

duo337 said...

Carnifex's are highly under-rated in the new codex IMHO. They are not solo killing machines like they used to be for dirt cheap. However the new Nid Codex is not designed to have tons of independent killing machines running around without order. It is all about synergy.

Take two squads of 2 carni's nakied, take a venomthrope to give them a cover save while they run at the enemy(negates 1/3 of the enemy ap3/2 weapons), take two Tervigons with catalyst to give them feel no pain and produce scoring units to take objectives and you got a nice synergy going within your list for about 1050. Still leaving you points to play with left over.

Carnifex' are the bread and butter of cheap, effective, and numerous amounts of monstrous creatures with toughness 6 or greater. Remember, with nids... quantity is a quality. The more generic Carnifex's that the enemy has to spend time bringing down the more pressed he is going to be dealing with your other elements of your army.

Your attempting to min/max quality while not concerned about quantity... which can be done a whole bit more effective in other codex's like Eldar.

Raptor1313 said...

I'm not so sure about jack-of-all-trades.

As I said, if I want long-range shooty, I'm competing with the Harpy, the Hive Tyrant, and the Tyrannofex. The Harpy trades mobility for durability (but doesn't take up a heavy support slot). Firepower's the same.

If I want a 160pt thing to run at the enemy, a Hive Tyrant is as durable (and synapse, AND if I take hive guard is very, very simple to get cover).

If I want mid-range, mid-stength shooty I can take HIve Guard (which are pure gold against any medium mech). 150 points of hive guard will do a hell of a lot more damage to the enemy with shooting (no one likes six BS4 S8 shots when they're AV10-12)

Now, against Land Raiders, how do you propose I assault the Raider? It's faster than me, its cargo can probably eat me, and all that. The basic five TH/SS terminators can easily tag one carnie on the charge, and if they got wounded or the other guy has Vulkan, then you're gonna lose both (and take out maybe two of the TH/SS guys in return).

Can't say I'd really want to deal with that kind of a trade if I'm relying on my carnies to kill raiders. Admittedly, the tyranids are kinda reliant on the

About the only things you CAN do with carnifexes is run multiples as-is, but taking them gives up your long-range punch (in the form of Tyrannofexes) and they're not THAT hard to outmaneuver.

The perk that a Trygon has is that while you do have to reserve it in, the enemy should get all of one turn to drop it. That's the strength of 'em.

Conversely, the carnifex HAS to slog it across the board. Expect 2-3 turns to get into position, more if you're playing a fast enemy.

Slapping Venomthropes in there IS an idea to increase their durability, OR it might just get the enemy to tag your Venomthropes before directing high-AP fire at your Carnies.

Other question, but how exactly is it 'simplicity itself' to give the carnie cover, past Venomthropes? You'd need to screen them with other monstrous creatures, terrain, or stuff like warriors/hive guard (and why are you offering the enemy free shots at hive guard, anyway?)

Basically, I just want quality WITH my quantity, and I can't help but think I can get better elsewhere. The ONLY thing that carnies really have going for them is the ability to be taken en masse. Honestly, Carnifexes did NOT get significantly more effective in assault, and it's not like anyone was doing that well with a 6-9 carnifex army prior to the codex change.

That being said, I might yet test out a carnie army just to see, but my gut says that it's just gonna be 'eh'.

6 Hive Guard [300]
3 Venomthropes [180ish?]
Two Tervigons w/ Catalyst, Glands (2*195)
20 Termagants (100)
2 Carnifexes (320)
2 Carnifexes (320)

I'm looking at about 1610 so far; maybe a little more or less. I've got my troops solved, I've got my carnifexe and their cover (which is about 800 points of the army), and I've got the pretty much REQUIRED hive guard. Otherwise the enemy will tank-shock and move vehicles 12" to wall me off and make me try to tag speeding vehicles.

I'm going to spend at least 95 on an HQ, so I've got about 300 points left to play with. I'd love to find the poitns for a pair of Harpies, since they'd provide valuable suppressing fire and probably not draw a ton of attention, but I'm not sure the points are there. Past that? I dunno.

duo337 said...

Your list is a good starting then it kinda gets dragged down quickly.

Hive guard are totally not worth it. Drop them 300 points spare. They don't have the toughness or AS to make it in the fight and the advanage there guns make are minimal at most with the different dynamic list that your used too that your creating.

HQ- Tervigon, catalyist, glands
Elite-3 venomthropes
Troops- 20 termigaunts
Troops- 20 termigaunts
Troops- Tervigon, catalyist, glands
Troops- Tervigon, catalyist, glands
Heavy support- 2 Carnifex's
Heavy support- 2 Carnifex's
Heavy support- 2 Carnifex's

roughly 90 points left.

Here you have 9 MC with toughness 6 with a crazy amount of wounds. Really you would break down the venomthropes into two units of 2. You don't need glands but that is your choice to make the gaunts assaulting.

Mathhammer against 5 TH/SS termies:
They charge canrifexs group 1. They lose charge bonus (defensive grenades). 10 attacks, 5 hits, 4/5 wounds. Carnifex down. Attacks back: 4 attacks with re-roll, 3 hit, 3/2 wounds. 1/0.6666 wounds. sake of arguement, 1 down.

Your turn: Assault with carnifex group 2, they go first. 10 attacks, 7/8 hit. 6/7 wounds. 2/2.33333 wounds. total = 3 down.
Assault with carnifex group 3, they go first. 10 attacks, 7/8 hit. 6/7 wounds. 2/2.33333 wounds. total = 5 down.

Squad down. Mop-up with Carnifex group 1 just in case. Consolidate and prep for enemy firing with FNP and re-forming of your battle line. Move on to chase the Land-raider that it came out of. Depending on the list, rinse-lather-repeat against next land-raider TH/SS combo. HE can only have so many of those TH/SS termies in a land raider in 2000 point army.

You lost a carnifex, he lost 5 TH/SS termies. You win by 40 points and a KP.

suneokun said...

Hang on a minute Duo ... you just rinsed 5 TH/SS Terminators with 6 Carnifex's ... I wonder how you won?

Face facts gentlemen ... the Carnifex is largely extinct. Whatever the 40k bunch were thinking that day, it wasn't 'let's make the Carni worthwhile' ...

You can field 3 hiveguard for every carni, you can have a tyrant, a tervigon or a Trygon for every Carni.

T6 anti that great ... it still gets wounded by lasguns and boltguns. I agree with you on the 'hide a Trygon' POV ... but that's where the usefulness starts and ends.

T6 3+ FNP is good, but against AP2 weaponry and powerfists, its pointless.

You're building a list that is designed to 'soak up' fire. It could work. But only once, and only against an army that willing to wait around for your 'pensioner warp speed' army to get there.

I'm not aware of an army that would do that.

I'd love to face that force!

That said, it would be ironically fairly effective in the 'linbreaker' scenario in the Battle Mission?

We HAVE a role for a Carnifex! It's called apocalypse or specialist scenarios.

Big miss by the designers.

Damon said...


I think reserving Trygons is a big mistake in any army list not a designated "drop list" led by a pair of hive commanders. I don't know how you're getting them to survive when they pop up. That "just one turn" of enemy shooting from ANYBODY should annihilate the guy. Even two of the guys. I see it happen all the time. IG, SM, Tau, ... they all giggle and then drop 'em. Outside of a focused drop list, footslogging Trygons as *MAJOR DISTRACTION SHOOT ME INSTEAD OF EVERYTHING ELSE* is the only viable option.

Regarding your point about Tyrants. Hey, I love those guys! For exactly the reasons you state, too. HOWEVER, they are not 160 pts. They are slightly more than that, basic. (10 pts counts!) And you're not giving them cover unless you are also buying them AT LEAST one 60 pt tyrant guard so you can play infantry cover shenanigans. And that's outside of any of the other "mandatory" upgrades pretty much required to get the most out of that guy (e.g., any of the "skills" like old adversary).

Oh, and you can only ever take two of them anyway.

So YES, Tyrant is awesomesauce. But he's expensive and you can't get as many of 'em as carnifexes.

The carnifex is your Tyrant-on-the-cheap if what you're primarily after is shooting or assaulting. The Tyrant is actually too important to be sandwiched into one specific role like that. Not exactly a lynchpin, but a force multiplier of that magnitude just shouldn't be used as a blunt instrument.

The carnifex is your blunt instrument ... on the cheap.

As for cover saves: Yes it is easy-peasy to give cover to carnifexes. You're using hive tyrants and tervigons, right? Termagant infantry screen gives cover to Tyrants because they have tyrant guard. Behind the gants are the tyrants and tervigons. Guess where the carnifexes are? And FNP can go anywhere it is needed to keep whatever you need alive. What does the enemy shoot out of that mass? It's damned if you do, damned if you don't however you slice it.

A trygon in that mass could perhaps be useful, but it is definitely sticking out like a sore thumb. It won't get cover, at best it could be given FNP. In fact, it's purpose is exactly how I said at the top of this response.

Raptor1313 said...

...drop hive guard? Then how in the world am I supposed to even TRY to deprive the enemy of mobility? You're going to spend a couple of turns chugging across the table, a turn assaulting the nearest vehicles (which probably moved 6-12 inches) and then you're probably on turn four. Hope you've got time...

If you don't bring glands, then all Teramagants are ONLY going to take up space. Seriously, GUARDSMEN will take them in hand-to-hand. If you can get the glands to work, it's a major perk.

I see what your'e getting at about the cover, though it's still a bit of an angle thing. Depends on how well the enemy can maneuver, and naturally any Vendetta is gonna laugh and shoot anyway, but that's just IG for you.

I'm still working out how best to use the Trygons. Thus far it's been with multiple tyrants and the like.

I'm going to post the carnie list I prototyped in another post. I'll grant that slogging 'em, you COULD get the carnies more cover than Trygons. Then it's a question of 'do you want the easier cover and S9, or the two extra wounds, extra attacks, and fleet?'

Sean said...

'Fex has a few advantages over other MCs:

-Frag Spines. Yeah, it's not much, but it's something.

-Broods. This is relevant at high point totals and for letting ICs join them.

-Reasonable shooting. TL Devs and HVC+Bioplasma are both decent-ish setups that do interesting things.

So my suggestions for using them would be:

A. Hammer unit in 2.5K, a la Stelek's Tervigon list for 'Ard Boyz. Fill your other two slots with other MCs and then add some more MCs in the form of a 'Fex brood. You're just using them as part of a strategy to overwhelm their anti-MC firepower.

B. Spore in with one of the above shooting setups to cause havoc. HVC+Plasma can do some damage to a vehicle, Devilfex can potentially stun a vehicle and charge it next turn or shred some troops. Probably the worst of your three options.

C. Two fexes + two Tyranid Primes, all with Regen and Devourers. Add BS/LW to the Primes and you get a T6/3+ unit that can get cover normally (it doesn't need the 50% obscurement on the Primes) and puts out a lot of shots. It's a bit gimmicky, but backed by Onslaught and Catalyst it's reasonably maneuverable and very, very tough (sucks up seven wounds before losing anything, has Regen.) And it's "only" ~650pts, which is pretty standard for a big stupid hammer unit.