Saturday, July 31, 2010

More Thoughts on Tyrands, Post-FAQ, and Other News

I'll start with the 'Other News.' Posts have slowed down to an extent, and there are two reasons for that:
1) Work was consuming my soul gradually
2) I started playing Warmachine/Hordes

That being said (and despite some bottled-up annoyances/disillusionment with GW) I don't intend to out-and-out quit 40k. I mean, I own Eldar, Tyranid, Tau, and Black Templar armies and the nucleous of a basic loyalist space marine army. That's a hell of a lot of money to just walk away from, and I'm not too into selling it off when I'm just drawing down the game a bit.

That being said, since this blog gets a lot of 40k traffic and I tend to blog based on my experiences (Hey, writing it down is educational for me AND sometimes helpful to the community) I'm likely to start up a Warmachine-based Spite Blog. (Shameless Plug: Check out Spite for the Unblighted. )

I still intend to post 2-4 reasonably in-depth articles for Warhammer 40k a month, but I'd like to chronicle my experiences with Warmachine/Hordes as well.

Ok, we've got the 'other' part out of the way.

Down to the Bugs
So, what's changed for what I'll take in an army with Tyranids? Annoyed though I am, here's the list of stuff that I'm less likely to take because it's a pain in the tail to get +2 to reserves rolls:
1) Drop Pod Zoanthropes
These guys got kicked in the balls by the ruling. Look, when you've got an 18" gun of DEATH for vehicles, well, you might be a target priority. Just saying. And you're the main way this army stops Land Raiders? Ouch.

Not to get ranty, but either you hope the other guy lets you shoot his Land Raiders/expensive tanks with your Zoanthropes, or you um, y'know, get hosed/hope your MCs can assault them.

2) Anything Else in a Drop Pod
Ok, honestly, what makes me nervous about facing Drop Pod marines/outflanking IG skimmers and the like is the part where it craps out template and/or melta weapons in their preferred range. We can crap out Warriors or a heap of Hormagaunts, which are considerably less scary. The stuff with guns gets to shoot them when they arrive. Our guys have to wait a turn to move into position, and if Synapse isn't close, you have to hope you make that Instinctive Behavior check. If you're not in cover, then, well, ouch. So long. Nice knowing you, little guys.

3) Trygons
Ok, sure, technically you can keep them in on the table, but if you want to get to the enemy (Hey, T6, 6 wounds and a 3+ with a model THAT freakin' tall, you aren't getting cover at all, ever. Sorry. Wait, are there MISSILE LAUNCHERS on the other side of the table? Oh, s- BOOM!).

Best-case scenario: arrive turn two, weather a turn of gunfire. Turn three, assault something. Hope to stay in assault. (It worked once: hit a big squad of IG, and his COMMISSAR decided to be an epic hero and held in assault against 5 genestealers and a Trygon during my assault phase. Then he died so very, very horribly in his...). Turn four, repeat.

Downside? You don't start being that productive until the turn after you arrive. 6-12 shots off your personal static electricty at a mighty BS3 do NOT actually make you that scary in shooting; it's like giving a helicopter pilot a sidearm: it gives them something productive to do when they're shot down and waiting to get killed off for raining hellfire missiles on folks.

4) Mawlocs
Best-case scenario? Arrive turn two, deep-strike onto something. Hilarity ensues. Turn three, thank the enemy for NOT killing it, fall back into reserves. Turn four, emerge again for more hilarity. If you still exist in turn five, think long and hard about going back underground or staying topside, since you give away your points if you're in reserves on turn five and turn six doesn't roll around.

Outside of popping up and screwing up stuff, you have a mighty WS3 and three base S6 monstrous creature attacks. Hope no one wants to assault you, and if no one does, consider assaulting them.

5) Any of Your Other Elites
Seriously, unless it's a Venomthrope, has anyone else even taken other Elites choices? I mean, a walking flamethrower is cool and all, and so are Ymgarl stealers (at least in theoryhammer) but that means giving away all your shooting, which just doesn't do much. (Except for my last game against 'nids as Tau; watching the other guy seize the initiative and his one Tyrannofex popping your Hammerheads on turns one and two while they kill a mighty total of FOUR hormagaunts is, um...I needed some Jack straight; not Gentleman Jack because I was just going to THROW IT DOWN THE HATCH and that'd be rude to the good stuff...)

So, What Now?
Well, frankly, most of the time a solid core for a list for me starts with 20 Termagants, 2 Tervigons, and 6 Hive Guard. This is still 490 points of troops and another 300 points and 2-3 of your Elites choices.

As it stands, then, there are a couple of lists I'm down to considering.

1) Shooty Bugs
Take 3 Tyrannofexes and a Prime. You're at 1680. At this point I consider either more shooting (you might be able to fit in a couple of Harpies with Heavy Venom Cannons) or some mid-range shooty/assault support in the form of a warrior squad, or even filling out my Fast Attack with Spore Mines for the laughs.

2) Horde Bugs
Take a couple of Primes as HQs, take six Hive Guard, three Venomthropes and three Tyrannofexes. This costs you a minimum of 1420 (ok, maybe drop a tyrannofex) and then fill the rest of that with things that scuttle and bite.

Hope you don't meet Land Raiders or mech spam.

3) Try Reserves Anyway
Now, thing is, there's STILL a way to get +2 to reserves off the bat; you take the Swarmlord AND a Hive Tyrant, because Alien Cunning and Hive Commander still stack. Here's what I can think of as a prototype for that list:

Still Looking For That +2 Reserves, Thank You Very Much...
Swarmlord [280]
-3 Tyrant Guard w/ Lash Whips [195]

Hive Tyrant [220]
-Heavy Venom Cannon
-Lash Whip/Bone Sword
-Hive Commander
-Leech Essence, Paroxysm
Tyrant Guard w/ Lash Whip [65]

2 Hive Guard [100]
2 Hive Guard [100]
2 Hive Guard [100]

11 Termagants [55]
11 Termagants [55]
Tervigon [195]
-Adrenal Glands
-Toxin Sacks

Tervigon [195]
-Adrenal Glands
-Toxin Sacks

7 Genestealers w/ Toxin Sacks [119]

Mawloc [160]
Mawloc [160]

Total: 1999/2000

I feel light on shooting, but that's because I don't have Tyrannofexes. On the flip side, I can ram the Swarmlord down someone's throat with Feel No Pain, and potentially threaten them with the other Hive Tyrant.

The Mawlocs and Genestealers are supposed to make folks worry; with the Swarmlord I can reliably place them on the side I want, and then the Mawlocs SHOULD be there on turn two. Hopefully I've put the enemy into disarray, and then the brick of tyranids starts advancing.

Cons? My significant shooting doesn't reach past 24", as the Heavy Venom Cannon will at best annoy the other guy by making his heavy armor not shoot for a turn, or if I'm lucky take a gun off. (which is cool against people with just one main gun, mind you...).

What would I change? I'd frankly LOVE to get another big critter in there. As it is, I could maybe drop a Hive Guard off the Swarmlord and lose the Genestealers, then go up to a third Mawloc and find a place to put that other ~25 points.

Anyway, thoughts/curses/well-wishes/rotten produce? I'm looking at you, TKE.


Chumbalaya said...

Everybody's doing Warmahordes now, I guess I have to pick it up too -_-

The nerfing nids got from the FAQ hurt. Doesn't affect me particularly, but I was trying out a Spore army that'll never be finished.

Your army does have +2 to reserves, but look at how much you're spending. 800 points for what? 2 Mawlocs and some Genestealers? Meh.

I tell you what, though. I am developing a healthy respect for Genestealers (ok, Broodlords and their ablative wounds) and have begun flirting with Ymgarls. All you need is Hive Commander or Swarmy and you have some serious threats coming up early with follow up support from Onslaughting HG, a Tyrant deathstar and boosted gaunts. T-fexes would be handy too, but that can get pricey. Raveners would work, especially if you have Swarmlord involved.

Trygons are a red herring I think. They look great on paper, but you've covered their weaknesses quite well. Either take 3 big snakes or none at all, otherwise they'll be crippled quickly and you're fucked. My Loganwing, for example, won't bat an eye at one Trygon and they could handle 2, but 3 is too much even for my missile spam.

Mawlocs are support, only there to mess with castles. MagicJuggler had this devious scheme to run 3 Mawlocs and 9 Lictors to either bring out a ton of infantry killing turn 2 or surprise buttsecks vehicles to death (surround parking lot with lictors, mawlocs pop up and push tanks into death). Looks fun, but I dunno how it'll work with the Hive commander nerf. Taking Mawlocs along with stuff like Zopes in Pods, Ravs, and Dakka Fexes in Pods is a good call I think, but don't expect them to do much on their own.

Tyranids are weird. I still don't have a good grip on them outside of my "Tervigon/HG/T-fex" comfort zone.

Raptor1313 said...

I'm with you on the weirdness.

Half the point of the list IS the whole '800 poitns for reserves' deal going on.

I think the Swarmlord list probably needs to focus on HIM, and then maybe build those Genestealers that are waiting on the sprue that I haven't sold since I got the battleboxes several months ago.

I really do have to wonder where the book goes aside from the Tervigon/HG/T-fex zone.

jcroxford said...

Warmachine. It's the new black. I'll follow that blog!

Emmanuel said...

I mostly agree with your analysis but still think you missed a few points :

- Tyranids rule #1 : give your opponents hard choices. Sure a trygon will be a priority target when put on the table from the beginning but what of the ravener/BS-warriors/tervigons beside it. As a heavy-ML wolf player I feel confident I can take town 1/2 trygons before they charge. problems arise when I also have to deal with 2-3 others 3W-per-head death-star units that needs my ML attention to be dealt with efficiently. I you build your swarm well, every unit will be a priority target and so none will be.

- Tyranids rule #2 : sinergy is everything. lack of mobility/range can be balanced by covering the whole table : take a lot of bumper units and cover the whole table. take a few fast units to catch units from far away or prevents them from getting on your flank during your advance. you can then slow ennemy units enough to give time for your slow elites units to get their claws on them.

- Tyranids rule #3 : all units lack resilience, so make your units as versatile as possible. The rending claws took a nerf in 5th. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use them in the new codex : stealer are superior to poison-hormagaunts because of rending. raveners are awesome because of rending. rending on fast units is your hidden anti-tank weapon. and it can hurts MC as well as light infantry. that means a units with a lot of rending A is very versatile in terms of targets, and will bring much to your army.

- Tyranids rule #4 : if you can't eat it, try to neutralyze it or ignore it. land raiders are a pain but can't harm you much and if you only remove their mobility you can ignore them. you have cheap bumper and your own death-star units to deal with their content. against eldars/orks/fast armies, remember to focus on removing the mobility from your opponent rather than killing him.

Emmanuel said...

units I (re-)discovered recently, that you might want to consider :

- raveners rock. they can hurt vehicles with rear-armor of 10/11, even when they moved 6". they even have a fair chance against vehicles moving flat-out. sure raveners are weak against Str8-or-higher shooting but cover is affordable and guess what : my 2 trygons, my warriors, my tervi, my zoans and my HG are good targets for those weapons too.

- foot-slogging warriors with BS+LW and poison : they can kill any infantry unit in the game. with a prime and a BS they are decently resilients. yes, they are slow. but that's what the (horma)gaunts are for : run in front of them, catch ennemy units in CC and keep them here until the warriors reach them. you can also simply put your warriors where you think the ennemy will try to mount his counter-attack (or where you don't want him to). tyrants with guards are the same, more resilents, but a bit more costly.

- trygons on the table from the start (with regen). they are big, they often can't afford cover saves, and they are nasty. so yes, they're not likely to survive. but on the other hand they make so good a target that you can lure your opponent into focusing his shooting on them, thus sparing your precious HG/tervigons and buying time for raveners and warriors.

- stealers, but hormies-like. everybody knows that stealers are good commando units. but you can also field them in numbers with the rest of the army (you can still benefit from infiltration or scout). I found them to be as potent as poisoned-ferocious-hormies against infantry, almost as fast, better against targets in cover, and efficient against vehicles.

- zoans as a mobile cover. sure they lack range and are slow. they're also resilients, don't need cover but provide one for other units, are fairly cheap, and can be so hard to kill with a prime and FnP cast on them that your opponent might give up.

AIA I find this codex to be very potent. Up to now my opponents never achieved to deal with all the components of my armies : some broke my claws but lost their mobility to my guns and were helpless in front of my troops sitting on objectives, some killed my guns or my troops but died to my claws, some tried to out-move me but finally only bruised the bulk of my units sitting on objectives.

A few other things :

- you can put your mawlocs on the table from the begining, make them dive turn one for a garanteed DS on turn two.

- @chumbalaya : I own a LoganWing with missile spam too, and don't even bother to really shoot-kill the trygons anymore since I can finish them in CC :) my greatest fear is a big swarm of poisoned-ferocious-hormies : I can't prevent them from getting in close combat and once there it's a long battle of attrition, most likely not to my advantage :(

Damon said...

Really digging Emmanuel's comments. :)

But I don't think you're making good use of your 2+ reserves. If you're going to do that, I think you need to build your list in two pieces, the reserved piece that deep strikes into place, and the reserved piece that walks on ready to kick ass.

I haven't points costed this, but if you take a hive commander flyrant and the swarmlord, two mawlocs and a tyrannofex, you've got the core of these two pieces. I would also strongly consider taking some mixture of Deathleaper, lictors, zoanthropes for Elites and leaving the hive guard at home. Instead, favor harpies for your shooting, and they can either fly on or deep strike, your choice.

Especially with Deathleaper/lictors on hand, you can seriously threaten multiple assaults. Pod in some stealers, outflank some hormagaunts. You could also walk on a single tervigon to screen any assaults on your backfield units and secure home objectives. The goal being to assault the crap out of the enemy in his deployment zone, having enough shooting to pop transports so there's things to eat right away. And your backfield just marches up shooting all the way and taking out anything that gets away from your dropped elements.

Circling back to other comments in your post, I would never take more than 2 Tfexes in a single list. Too many points invested in those units. 2 Tfexes at 2000 pts, yes. But not any more than that. As you noted, spread your shooting around the force org a bit, and make sure you have some assault elements to balance it out.