Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blood Angels Thoughts on Request, Part 1

This is a request in from Boc, an old disciple of Spite and provider of random inspiration. For the record, it's more like genetically-engineered supermen raining from the sky screaming hallelujah unto the Emperor, and that's good enough for them.
On my way towards finding a list, I think it's important to discuss what makes the Blood Angels stand out as marines. Ok, yes, we're all used to ignoring morale rules, and getting ready to shoot a bunch of T4, 3+ save guys that just don't quite.

So, what makes the Blood Angels special? Here's what jumps out at me:

Blood Angel Core Competencies
The Jump Pack Army
Assault marines are a troops choice, and a viable one at that. While costly, you can take ten of them, give them a pair of meltaguns, a powerfist, and a welter-weight flamer. It'll cost you 245 points, but it makes for a quick, versatile troops section that's not bad in combat. You'll look for a little more punch elsewhere, but this is a solid building block, and there are plenty of choices available that can pace them.

The other thing worth noting with the Jump Pack army is Descent of Angels. Holding jump packers with this rule in deep strike? You get to re-roll the reserves roll (so you've got a 75% chance of coming in ON TURN TWO) and you roll scatter dice + 1d6. Yeah. You heard that right; it can and will rain men where you want them. Sick, isn't it?

Feel No Pain/Furious Charge bubbles
Sanguinary Priests can grant Feel No Pain and Furious Charge to units within six inches. You can get three per elite slot, and kit them out with jump packs, bikes, or terminator armor. On the down side, they're 50 points bare, and go up from there.

The Fast Vehicle Army
Most of your vehicles are indeed Fast (and the land raider can deep strike, so yeah). Predators? Get a firing position again. Razorbacks and Rhinos? Get your troops or guns where they need to be. Oh, and you can take six predators now; the Baal Predator can fit into the Fast Attack slot. You can put heavy flamers or heavy bolters on the side, and the turret can take the stupidly nasty Flamestorm Cannon, which is a flamer with S6, AP3. Smells like roasted geneseed...

Note also that your vehicles ARE a little more expensive, but you're FAST. Use it, man.

The other big vehicular debut is the Storm Raven. Want to air-lift a dreadnought? You can now. AV12 all-around and immune to melta, it's also a Fast Skimmer that can put guns and troops where you want them when you need them there. In larger games, I think you can make room for one just for the sheer utility it brings to the table.

Dreadnoughts of Nasty
Note that regular dreadnoughts (IE: the ones often seen either falling out of a drop pod with MM/HF or sitting with a pair of twin autocannons) are now heavy support. You can get the Possessed Death Company Dreadnought as a troops choice if you take a Death Company unit. Or, you can get the Furioso Dreadnought, which has an AV13 front, and can be a librarian with a jump-pack-like power.

Your mileage may vary, but I've got a soft spot for the flying Furiosos.

Death Company
Relentless, feels no pain, and can't score. Thankfully, they're not compulsory. You can take them if you like, and they have plenty of melee options. Downside: yeah, they got a little bit of Rage going on. They don't require a Sanguinary High Priest to give them Feel No Pain and Furious charge, but they ARE 20 a head now, and 35 with jump packs. You can also have a 30-man-strong Death Company if you so desire. I suppose you could theoretically have the most expensive single squad in the game if you want with 30 flying thunder-hammer-toting maniacs, which would cost you around 1900 points.

What To Do With This Stuff?
One crucial difference between this book and the regular SM book is that you lose combat tactics, and instead get the Red Thirst. Basically, this gives your guys a small chance to trade And They Shall Know No Fear for Furious Charge and Fearless. Neat, yes, but it DOES keep regular bolter guys from trying to break off and fire again during your turn. That being the case, when you get into a fist fight, you either win or come home in a box.

Your first question with the BA army is do you want to do foot (IE: Jump Packs) or mechanized, and then there's a question of the flavor of mechanized.

Honestly, if you're not going to play with the extra goodies in the book, go use another marine codex. You can't just plug 'n' play your SM army, or even your old BA army. It's as simple as that. Note that you DO have a lot of the same/similar units; you still have sternguard/vanguard vets (and vanguard's still not worth taking, really), terminators, land raiders, MM/HF speeders, scouts, and so on and so forth. Your HQ set and librarian powers are different, but most of the new guys are pricy and I'm going to focus on some of the newer stuff.

So, what would I do? Frankly, I'm drawn to two of the army types:
1) Half-Dozen Predators of Death
2) Jump Pack Marines from Hell

With Boc's request in mind, I'm going to set out a rough pair of lists, and explain my choices in both of them.

Predator Demolition Derby
Well, first off, I'm going to use Assault Marines as my core. Three units of 10 guys + 2 meltaguns + powerfist + hand flamer cost me 735.

My heavy support predators will be lascannon sponsons with turret autocannons. Why? I need the long-range firepower to stop/slow transports more than I need anti-infantry. Trust me on that. This puts me at 1140.

The Baals? I will take Flamestorm cannons on them, and nothing else. Why? If I had sponsons, I would a) have to move slower to use them, and B) be unable to put them side-to-side, thus forming a nice wall for my jumpers to hide behind. Three of them put me at 1485. Why not take the assault cannon? It's inferior for cover-busting, and it's honestly not that great at hiding armor. I'm taking it because it is abjectly frightening to infantry, and I can push them up the field quickly.

Let's take stock. Right now, I have 30 troops, an advancing wall of three short-ranged, nasty tanks, and three guys sitting back and attacking lighter armor. I have about 500 points, and at this point, I need an HQ minimum. I also could use a couple of those Feel No Pain bubbles, and something to deal with nastier CC troops. Powerfists are nice, and furious charge + flamers + massed pistol/sword beatings can handle crunchier targets while giving me a backup weapon, but I'm not sure if that'll be enough against heavier targets. Let's do some math (and assume I get a Furious Charge) off at:

T6, 3+ save monstrous creature, assuming a 4+ to hit.
Powerfist: 3 swings, 1.5 hits, 1.25 wounds, or one.
Regular Swings: 27; 13.5 hits, wound on 5+ for 4.5 wounds, so 1.5 get through. Not that overwhelming.

Against Terminators:
Powerfist: 3 swings, 1.5 hits, 1.25 wounds, probably bag a regular terminator, questionable against a storm shield packer.
Regular attacks: 27 attacks, 13.5 hits, wound on 3+ so you get 9 wounds, and 1-2 get through. Also not so great.

Ok, my hypothesis is confirmed, I need nastier weapons. I have 500 points. Two Sanguinary High Priests and a Librarian with a jump pack puts me at 1760. I just have room for a shiny, nasty unit of Sanguinary Guard. I'll give them a powerfist, and then a pair of Infernus Pistols for taking wounds off harder targets. These guys have four mastercrafted power weapons on the (furious) charge, which will do a number on harder targets. Plus, they look cool.

This leaves us at 1990. Let's go ahead and give the Librarian a hand flamer or something cool like that, and call it 2,000. What's that look like?

Ride of the Predators
Librarian [135]
-Jump Pack, Hand Flamer
Powers: Sanguine Sword (melee at S10), Unleash Rage (Preferred enemy for self/unit)

2 Sanguinary Priests w/ Jump Packs [150]

Sanguinary Guard [230]
-Powerfist, 2 Infernus Pistols

10 Assault Marines [245]
-Powerfist, Hand Flamer, 2 Meltaguns

10 Assault Marines [245]
-Powerfist, Hand Flamer, 2 Meltaguns

10 Assault Marines [245]
-Powerfist, Hand Flamer, 2 Meltaguns

Fast Attack
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm Cannon [115]
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm Cannon [115]
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm Cannon [115]

Heavy Support
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [135]
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [135]
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [135]

Total: 2000/2000

So, recap:
3 hefty troops units waiting to crush face; you should be able to get Feel No Pain/Furious Charge coverage on them all.
Sanguinary Guard may be five guys, but they should also be furious charge with mastercrafted power weapons, and 2+ armor.
Librarian goes where you think you'll need Preferred enemy or an S10 fist to the gonads.
3 Predators provide a screen/flamer threat.
3 Predators sit in the back and provide you with long-range fire.

The one worry I have with a list like this is against shootier enemies, but in such a case you can deep-strike your units if you think it's necessary (and you'll get them reasonably quickly). You can also combat-squad the anti-tank elements if you feel you need to get the meltaguns in there, and I think the d6 scatter plus deep-strike placement is at least worth a look and experiment, as you don't necessarily NEED the +2d6 against lighter armor.

This being a wall o' text, I'll follow up with the Flying Dreadnought brainstorm in another post, just for sake of everyone's sanity.

Feedback? Thoughts? Faced anything or run anything like this before?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swarmlord & Friends: Abbreviated After Action

I apologize, as there would've been pictures had I had any brainpower left after dealing with a day of epic-level stupidity at work. I just have no words to describe it adequately; someone talking about training suggested a mentorship for letting the new guys learn 'the why behind the what.' I have to say that knowing the 'why' is kind of like being the protagonist in one of Lovecraft's shorts: the knowledge brings only pain and insanity.

So. That aside, here was the situation:

Swarmlord + 3 Whip-packing Guard
3 Hive Guard
3 Hive Guard
10 Termagants
11 Termagants
Tervigon w/ Onslaught, Catalyst
Tervigon w/ Onslaught, Catalyst
8 Genestealers w/ Poison
Trygon w/ Furious Charge
Trygon w/ Furious Charge


Imperial Guard
Co. Command w/ Meltas, Vox, Chimera (laser/flamer)
Co. Command w/ Vox
Chimera Melta Vets
Infantry Platoon
'toon command, vox
20 guys w/ 2 Lascannons, Commissar, couple power weapons, vox
30 guys w/ commissar, 3 autocannons, some power weapons, vox
Special Weapons Squad w/ flamers
Heavy Weapons Team w/ missile launchers
Hellhound w/ hull MM
Hellhound w/ hull MM
Leman Russ w/ Sponson bolters, pintle stubber, lascannon
Leman Russ w/ Sponson bolters, pintle stubber, lascannon
Leman Russ Demolisher w/ hull flamer

Capture and Control, Pitched Battle Deployment

The Battle in Brief
IG won the first go. He deployed an objective in a corner, screened by his footbound infantry. Russes in central deployment, with melta-vets and a hellhound on either flank. I put my objective across from his, and hung on the side across from him. Hive Guard on one side and in the middle; and a fairly even split of assets past that. I failed to seize.

Turns 1 and 2
I have to admit that off the bat, he had some awesome shooting and I couldn't roll a save worth a crap. I lost two hive guard, a couple wounds off the Swarmlord, and took some damage here and there. Notably, the Hive Guard had to Onslaught into position in the middle, flub their shooting horribly, and lose two of them to counter-fire from a hellhound, the demolisher, and melta. I only really suppress ONE of the bloody hellhounds...ouch.

But, come my turn two, Swarmlord's still around...and I get everything. The Genestealers appear on the correct flank (the one with assault targets as opposed to the flank waaaay out there with nothing to hit) and promptly grab themselves a 20-man + commissar squad (Deathleaper had penalized the Commissar's leadership and at least tried to work that angle...). Punchline: due to a Trygon scattering to an inch of that squad, he couldn't pile in for crap. Ouch.

Insult to injury: he gets a hellhound and a chimera hull flamer into termagants; kills a whopping 4 out of 10, between rolling a heap of 1's with the hellhound and the other squad makes some awesome feel no pain rolls.

Turns 3 and 4
Sadly, he'd committed his melta assets too early to harming the Swarmlord and one flank's hive guard. I managed to take those out in the previous turns, so he had about a turn before the Trygons went to town on me. He managed to shoot the crap out of them, but kill neither. His commissar takes out another genestealer, and they hold on turn 3. Punchline: he holds out as the last man on HIS turn, staring at four genestealers (...yes, he killed the other four in the squad) and a Trygon that are Not Amused.

The other Trygon ate itself a russ, and grabbed a position for the assault on his objective.

My turn 3 gets gruesome; his stuff starts dying. Deathleaper popped out behind the Vendetta, hit a shot, and wrecked it. Thank you, flesh hooks. The special weapons team managed to flub their morale check, and my original 11 termagants had more or less made it across the field.

By his turn four, he's got a stunned hellhound looking at a hungry Tervigon, a pinned squad of flamers looking at an advancing group of Termagants, a lone missile launcher looking at 8 angry termagants, my objective firmly in hand, and the four genestealers, two tervigons, and Swarmlord looking at his objective hungrily. I have two hive guard left; one of them survived a heap of shots only to go down to an exploding hellhound.

As the store was planning to close, we called it at the end of my turn four. I had two Trygons into a 30-man squad suffering from Paroxysm, and four genestealers had cleaned his other command squad off his objective and were contesting it (might have had it after pile-in moves). Deathleaper had pegged his other Russ and tear off the cannon.

Thoughts on the New (to me) Units
Swarmlord and Buddies
Frankly, 3 tyrant guard are pretty much essential; against gun-heavy lists if they want him dead, you'll need all the protection you can get (and Catalyst). He made it to turn two by the skin of his teeth, and then they had more immediate threats. My opponent DID target him explicitly to try to screw up my reserves plan.

Against Guard, honestly, a bunch of S6 preferred-enemy insta-gib attacks that force re-rolls on invulnerable saves is just a little bit of overkill in assault.

This is the first time I've fielded him, and I can see the merit. Admittedly, all he really did was make one guard squad Ld8 stubborn instead of Ld9. I think I might have played him conservatively, but the thing is that assaulting the 20-30 man squads is not gonna work, and the missile team can insta-gib him. Threatening rear shots on vehicles is reasonably nasty, but I think it's just a matter of target selection this time around.

Onslaught on Tervigons
Catalyst will still be my go-to power. I went with catalyst for two reasons:
1) get Swarmlord into position while still being able to use his powers
2) extra range on Hive Guard

I feel justified on number two as I've got all of two shooty units, and I need to get as much use as possible out of them. If I can get another turn of shooting out of them because of extra movement (or making up for a craptastic Difficult Terrain roll) then it's worth it. In this army, the Swarmlord is probably gonna get Catalyst, so that leaves an Onslaught to hand out.

Getting them in early helps, and getting them in with as many threats as possible helps. Coming in on a 3+ helps, and the genestealers are also a credible threat, especially if the enemy's close to the flanks. Still, if I get them in early, they'll do damage. The enemy gets...one turn...to drop them.

Frankly, the Swarmlord makes them work a little better. I get the reserves bonus (well, it's mandatory under Alien Cunning) but I also get a re-roll on the side they arrive. Since there's normally a 66% chance of making it in on the desired side, Swarmlord bumps that up to 88%.

Poison is useful for boosting lethality, pure and simple. 'Stealers have S4 and I6; S4 is really the place to be for poison outside of S6 (as S4 + poison on 4+ translates to 75% chance to wound per hit against most infantry) and you don't really NEED I7. You do get a slight perk as it gives you another chance to see a rend on toughness-based targets. It translates to about a 25% chance to score a rend per hit if you get the re-roll.

Bottom line, though, with the Swarmlord the outflank becomes a serious consideration, because your enemy has to assume that you WILL get them on the correct side more often than not. The 'stealers force your enemy to avoid keeping stationary vehicles close to the edge (...not necessarily an issue unless it's a gun platform) and make sure everyone's got terrain in the way. It doesn't make them an auto-include in the army, but I think a unit CAN be a performer.

Honestly, both me and my opponent were a little out of practice, so there's that to factor in. The play was not top form, and the dice were a bit wonky (average on the long run, but some wild swings on the individual rolls, like my early 3+ save fails and inability to fail later on).

I think the Swarmlord works okish with this setup. I do miss having three groups of hive guard for the ability to split fire (both incoming and outgoing). I think Deathleaper is much nastier when I'm screwing over psykers. I think the Swarmlord IS a bit hit-or-miss, as sometimes that kind of melee killing power is overkill.

Certainly, Trygons + Genestealers can throw someone on the back foot, and if the enemy commits assets too early, well, they get hurt.

Other experiences with the Swarmlord?

Special thanks to Chumbalaya for recommending genestealers on that count...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pondering the Swarmlord

I've been thinking about what I'd like to do to get away from the usual list I run that centers around Hive Guard and Tervigons and Tyrannofexen. It's usually led by a Tyranid Prime. So, I figured I'd turn around and go for the big nasty in our HQ choices: the Swarmlord.

On the Swarmlord
First off: the Swarmlord can grab preferred enemy, and inflicts instant death and forces re-rolls on invulnerable saves. He's also the only unit outside of Zoanthropes to have an invulnerable save in the book. Neat, huh?

Beyond that, he's prime psychic support. All the powers you'd want (...not that a lot of them are that awe-inspiring outside of Paroyxsm) and the ability to fire off two in a turn. On the downside, the bulk of your psychic powers are shooting attacks, but you've got no fleet and the urge to crush face in assault. But, we have a way around this conundrum: Onslaught! And Tervigons are cool as is, so it's not like you're necessarily sacrificing anything to get 'em.

The other big perk is 'Swarm Leader.' During your shooting phase, you can give a unit within 18" Preferred Enemy, Furious Charge, or Acute Senses. All nice, yes? If the Swarmlord is going in himself, he's probably going to grant himself Preferred Enemy. Most units you have that you want in assault have or can readily get Furious Charge, and Acute Senses is so-so. The prime scenario I envision (other than a preferred-enemy Swarmlord) is something like a heap of preferred-enemy fully-glanded unit of Termagants going into a unit of whatever you like being subjected to Paroxysm.

So, the Swarmlord is a brute. What do do put with him? Here's a brainstorm I had with the idea of using a Swarmlord and some of the other stuff I've been painting recently.

Swarmlord and Friends
Swarmlord [280]
-3x Hive Guard w/ Lash Whips [195]

3 Hive Guard [150]
3 Hive Guard [150]
Deathleaper [140]

Terivgon [210]
-Cluster Spines
-Toxin Sacks, Adrenal Glands

Terivgon [210]
-Cluster Spines
-Toxin Sacks, Adrenal Glands

10 Termagants [50]
11 Termagants [55]

Fast Attack
4 Raveners w/ Rending Claws [140]

Fast Attack
Trygon w/ Adrenal Glands [210]
Trygon w/ Adrenal Glands [210]

Total: 2000/2000

Swarmlord gets a full tyrant guard because, oh, I'm pretty sure people would rather shoot him to death before he does something drastic (like get into assault). Tyrant Guard get whips as a measure of cutting costs and to back up the swarmlord; no one really needs to go before him as far as I'm concerned.

Elites? Not a big surprise. Requisite six hive guard, and Deathleaper is in there to try to cripple any psychic hoods or enemy psykers.

Troops are kind of the same as usual; it's the Tervigon core. The only difference is that they pack Catalyst and Onslaught alike. Why Onslaught? Well, Hive Guard are nasty but only have a 24" range, and the Swarmlord wants to push ahead and still benefit from his psychic powers.

The Raveners and Trygons are a bit of 'I want to try something new' and they're assault-oriented. I'd love five raveners, but I'm just short of it (I had 25 left; that went to Adrenal Glands on the Trygons and the requisite spare Termagant. Plus, I've got some reserves manipulation. I should be able to get 2-3 of them in on turn two, and since the whole army is running at you and baying for your blood,* well, yeah...

So, thoughts/feedback? Swears?

*...I'm pretty sure tyranids actually advance silently, according the fluff. It just makes it creepier.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tervigon Conversion Pictures

I'm going to let the tactial deep-thinking go by the wayside for a little bit since I finally got off my tail and got access to a camera. Here come the tervigons! They're a carnifex kit with warrior scything talons (...I don't see much point in melee upgrades past the double-glands for these guys, but I suppose I could justify Scything Talons) and a foam ball to bulk up the back. Like the Tyrannofexes, I'm going for simple but effective. One of them's even taking a termagant-dump.
Front and back. Mmm, green stuff and foam for the bulking out.
I figure the big tongue works as a toxin-type upgrade. If you look closely at the ribs on the bottom, there's the adrenal gland. With all the other gooey bits up top, I just couldn't find a good spot to slap the gland. The pointy carapace bit servs me again as cluster spines, though I suppose it could also do the Stinger Salvo in a pinch.
Side view; one of them has the talon atached to a chunk of the base and the other's doing just fine.
And finally, a bit of a top view. If I shot directly from the top, well, there'd be the shadow from my hand and all.

I know there's no way they'd actually fit the 20 bajillion termagants in there, and the max production they could make out over the course of a game is 15 per turn (that's a 4, 5, and 6, so no doubles) for seven turns, or 105 termagants. There's no way you're fitting that much space into anything you really want to field and justifying it being able to move under its own power.

I figure that the tervigons carry a crap-ton of embryos, and then use some kind of internal fuel source to rapidly hatch them and grow them and fire them out. Thus, when you see doubles, it's the fuel source burning down, or some other internal ammo-depleted type of deal.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tyranids in Drop Pods: More Thinking Involved

I blame this in part on Chumbalaya for making me think more, and blame work for not getting to it sooner.

In part, I'd like to get out of my comfort zone; I usually play with som hive guard, tervigons, and usually tyrannofexes past that. Is it solid? Reasonably so. However, it IS potentially a rut, and I don't think I'm using all the 'nid codex can give me, and frankly, I picked it up over Tau and Eldar because I wanted variety in my builds.
With that in mind, I'm going to run down stuff I think might or might not fit into a 'nid drop-pod/reserves list.

A Crucial Difference
Now, the other well-known arrives-in-pods lists is, of course, the Space Marines. One of the things that Marines can do that I like is bring units suited for engaging multiple targets, AND make sure they get what they want when they want it (well, other than the BT codex; the others get Drop Pod Assault) and can usually bring units capable of engaging a variety of targets (IE: MM/HF dreads, MM/flamer tac squads, combi-toting Sternguard, etc.).

Tyranids? We tend not to have as much duality, so I've got to get away from my preconceptions of what a drop-pod list 'can' do, and think about a Mycetic Spore list.

So, on to the choices, run down by Force Org slots.

Hive Tyrants get Hive Commander, our reserves manipulation. You get two things for the 25 points: first, +1 to reserves (optional unless it's the Swarmlord) and you get to designate one unit to outflank.

Tyrants can take wings for speed/mobility, or take a couple guard for durability and give you a 'starts on table' core. I'd think about either whip/sword + heavy venom, or look into devourerers. The Guard can probably run naked.

Tyranid Primes
Primes really only give you two things in a spore list: more points to play with, and the ability to slap synapse into any unit. The former means you're not getting the Hive Commander perk, and the latter gives you the ability to slap it in with 19 hormagaunts for comedic value.

HQs Overall
I have to lean towards Tyrants here. I think you need to try Spores at a larger points level to get enough, and because you want a Tyrant or two to make sure you can get them there.

Again, this is where we're getting the guns. For that reason, I'm not gonna touch the other reserves.

Zoanthropes vs Hive Guard
This is your big question, honestly. I think if you're gonna focus on pods, you should give serious thought to Zoanthropes. Zoeys are your 'kills the tank' option. If you're reserving Hive Guard, there's the issue of getting them into range, or starting with enough on the table to mak sure they don't get splattered on turn one.

Ok, you're taking Deathleaper for one reason: you want your Zoanthropes to get Warp Lance off. That's why you brought them. Deathleaper can give you better odds; even a Ld9 hood is a decent step up in chances to win the dice-off. If you manage an average d6 roll and knock them to Ld8 for the hood, then so much the better: it's pretty much sunk.

That aside, Deathleaper is ALSO just plain fun to field. You're NOT bringing him for the whole +1 to reserves, since he has to be on the field to use it.

Well, we need 'em. I think you can get serious mileage out of Tervigons/Termagants, though Warriors are also a nasty thing to put in a pod.

But a Tervigon doesn't fit in a pod! Ok, wait. Go read Hive Commander. I'm not always a fan of outflanking, but a Tervigon has the potential to open up a whole new front in a fight when they walk on. First there's one, then there's 10 termagants, then 20...and you suddenly have to worry about that.

Termagants, well, you can slap them in pods, or just run them normally. You can at least buy pods for them and have the option, and I might think (I'm not sure how long) about throwing Devourers onto them for range, and for the ability to lay down a reasonably withering torrent of fire should I decide to land them and shoot things. I mean, a minimal 10-man squad IS throwing out 30 dice.

Frankly, you're running these as a Deathstar distraction. 5-6 of them, whips/swords, devourers and a venom cannon. Ok shooting, but NO ONE wants that hitting the lines next turn. No one. You're looking at close to 300 points for that assembly, but it DOES have to be taken seriously. However, IG with russes might just LOL at this and feed it pie, but that's part of the game. Then you can cry a little.

Now, you CAN slap 20 of these in a pod, or 19 plus Prime. Frankly, I think this falls under a similar use as Warriors, though cheaper. Do worry about flamers, but on the other hand, Hormies CAN pretty much auto-pilot. The downside? If you're outside of synapse, they might just throw a tank at the hormies and laugh; if they move it well enough it might take a couple of glances but they can buy time.

Fast Attack
Frankly, there are two choices here for deep-striking: Raveners and Shrikes. I don't think Harpies have a place in a deep-striking list; while they can, you want them on the field shooting, and they benefit from having other targets to draw fire. I mean, they ARE only T5 with 4 wounds and a 4+ save. Target saturation is a survival mechanism for them.

These are your cheap deep-strikers. 35 points a head for beasts with rending claws and speed 'On you next turn!' I like them because with rending claws and a solid volume of attacks, they're a legitimate threat to vehicles AND troops (...though should probably avoid Dreadnoughts, especially AV13 front-armor ones...)

The only downside is that compared to the rest of your army, they're less adept at deep-striking since they have no defense against a mishap.

Go read the warrior entry; remove the pod, add wings and reduce save to a 5+. Take the speed of 'on you next turn.' If you thought Warriors would draw fire, these things will SERIOUSLY do it. However, they're also 50 points a head for whip/sword + scything talons, and they do give up their ability to shoot in order to beomce adept at melee. Limits them somewhat, but seriously, they're gonna be assaulting something and praying they don't hit a dreadnought.

Given the cost, though, I'd almost lean towards regular warriors because I can put them in a drop pod and make SURE they land alive, instead of scattering a 250+ point unit off the table. Whoops.

Heavy Support
I'm inclined to look at three choices for heavy support in context of a drop pod list: Tyrannofexes, Carnifexes, and Trygons.

Ok, it doesn't fly/fall with style. Why is it in here? Simple. It has the range to come on from reserves and contribute from the get-go. It's tough enough to survive all but the heaviest of firepower (or at least the highest of AP...) for a few turns. And, as long as you have the enemy on the back foot, they probably won't tie it up in melee. Failing that, it still has nasty close-in firepower with the flamer and cluster spines, and the durability to deal with melee for a turn or two unless they brought a heap of poison boneswords or powerfists.

Blame it on Chumbalaya, but I think he's got a point here. Twin-linked devouerers won't KILL vehicles, but it WILL allow a Carnifex to throw out some suppressing fire. I admit I haven't tested this theory out, but I can see some potential.

You're taking the Carnie for suppressive fire. A dozen S6 shots at BS3 twin-linked should quite down/stop most lighter vehicles, and if you can nail it with S9+2d6 melee attacks after that, you've probably solved a tank problem.

You ARE losing your re-rolls in melee and paying 190 points + pod for the thing, but it's one of the few versatile(ish) choices we can drop in. In a pinch, it's got a reasonable(ish) chance at passing Instinctive Behavior, and the enemy is pretty much sacrificing anything used as bait against it, or they're killing it.

Pretty simple: survive a first turn of fire, then assault things with a heap of S6 MC attacks with re-rolls to hit. I'd think about finding points for Adrenal Glands, if only because S6+2d6 has given me issues against heavier armor often enough. It's also an edge if you attack other monstrous creatures (wounding on 3+ against T6? Yes please?).

Loading Out the Spores
Base 40 points, and you get some S6 attacks out to six inches. It'll do something if you actually land close enough to hit the enemy, but that's cutting it close. You have two real weapon options, the way I see it: Cluster Spines give you a large blast for your crap BS, and a Heavy Venom Cannon can potentially suppress vehicles. However, the guns ARE an investment in points, and I'd probably look to those last.

I've got whiskey and Mass Effect calling my name now (and some frustration because Blogger decided to try to EAT the post...). I am curious to hear from others who've tried reserves-heavy 'nid lists, and faced them. I think it can work, I think the tools are there, I just think it's gonna have to run it differently than other ones.

Thoughts, feedback, and insults are welcome.