Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tyranid FAQ: A Slight Rant

This is a slight rant, but more an expression of some disappointment in the Tyranid FAQ. Honestly, this blog tends not to get a lot of my ranting posted on it, and I think there are folks that tend to do it in a more entertaining fashion. As such, I turn to the internet for pictures of cats with captions to express my feelings.

I want to start by saying that the 'nid FAQ is not all bad.

Honestly, GW deserves serious props for answering contentious questions clearly and concisely.

"Doom hits stuff in vehicles, y/n?" Nope. It's clear, concise, and resolves a contentious issue.

"Is the Mawloc really supposed to be able to deep strike into stuff?" Yes.
"Can I single out a Tyrant with a retinue of Guard?" Nope.

These are clarifications that are handy. It would have been nice to have it in the codex to begin with, and the near half-year of waiting for it is a wee bit annoying. But, it's clear now, and it's stuff we wanted/needed clarified.

There's really one major disappointment, as far as I'm concerned:

Hive Commander Does Not Stack.

Big deal, you say? Well, it honestly doesn't come as a surprise. The IG Advisor that buffs reserves doesn't stack, either. So, why is this getting to me?

Tyranids have a fair assortment of deep-strike-capable units, including:
1) Pretty much every foot-mobile troops choice via mycetic spores (and Raveners...)
2) Spore-podding Zoanthropes
3) Various jump troops (Gargoyles, Shrikes, winged Tyrants)
4) Trygons
5) Mawlocs

Note that marines that rely on reserves have buffs for them; a full drop-pod army can guarantee half of it arrives early (well, unless you're Dark Angels or Black Templar). Blood Angels, whose schtick is falling from the sky screaming with jump packs, get a buff on that reserve roll, too. Sheesh, even Daemons can guarantee half of a deep-striking army arrives (albeit, the rest of their special rules and unit selection works to offset that...).

The Implications
Now, on the bright side, spores and trygons cannot deviate into units (and the Mawloc WANTS to, so yeah). On the down side, the best you can get for a reserves buff is +1 to the roll. So, if you want to see your units arrive anything other than piecemal, you want to bring multiples. Common sense, right? Here's the problem:

The more deep strikers you bring to make sure you get enough of them early, the less you have on the table.

This is called 'handing yourself over piecemal.' Too little on the table, and you might not have much of it left when the backup arrives. It's bloody challenging to try to make heavy deep-striking work. Most deep-striking units are going to be around 200 points. Trygons are 200 base; Mawlocs are around 160-170; pods are 30 points and a Warrior squad is easily 200 points. Hormagaunts are a toss-up because Feed - Synapse = potential hilarity ensuing if the enemy can bait you somewhere. (Or just drop a couple flamers on you, then it's a BBQ...I wonder if they scream like lobsters when broiled?).

So, I want two of my deep-striking units to arrive and threaten the enemy on turn two so I can hit him on turn three. I take three deep-striking units (IE: three Trygons). 600 points of the army, easy. I add in a hive tyrant + guard, 250-300 points (admittedly, it's also a nasty unit in its own right and a melee rock for smashing over someone's skull, AND a quality psychic unit). Then, I hope that the enemy army can't nuke 'em both, and I try to threaten him. I also hope that I can roll well, because most armies CAN handle a single Trygon in a turn. You buy some time, lose a Trygon, and then they show up turn three and you hope that they have time to do enough damage (Because they won't hit assault 'til turn 4, now...).

Second-order implications
Ok, I'm probably mis-using the term, but if deep-striking isn't so reliable, it follows that I want to make sure other items in my army ARE reliable. Let's go to that contest Elites slot, which is usually a Hive Guard vs Zoanthrope debate. Now, Zoanthropes are short-ranged, and there are two ways to try to shore that up: Onslaught (hope you roll well on that run...) and Mycetic Spores, which can deliver you into Warp Lance range.

Well, assuming you get the reserves roll right. So, you've put 2-3 Elites slot into Zoanthropes in pods, and you might have a Venom Cannon on the tyrant(s). Zoeys are already more or less single-use (Ok, you might get more, but do you really want to gamble on that?), and frankly, I'd like my anti-tank on the table fast to keep the enemy from doing damage to me. They're a little less reliable, now.

Bottom Line
What's this mean, overall? Less options for effective builds. That's my major complaint about the Hive Commander 'clarification.' Double hive commander can no longer get me results similar to a drop pod assault. Drop pod marines? Reliable and nasty. Reserving 'nids? Asking to come in piecemal.

Honestly, it feels like unless I'm wearing power armor or flak armor, I should get accustomed to fewer options.

Honestly, it's a hit. Pure and simple. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense, from a standpoint of promoting versatile builds. It's not encouraging me to go out and buy 9 Zoanthropes (...ok, the cost was kind of keeping me from that anyway). It makes me a little annoyed I have three Trygons, and it makes me wish there was a freaking official model for the Tyrannofex (since it's pretty much the only heavy support choice I run for a serious build).

Anyone else feel like this? I'm kind of annoyed when I get all psyched up, have a couple builds ready, and then my models get FAQ'ed.


TheGraveMind said...

Don't forget that the troop choice outflanking doesn't even stack. That is what makes me mad, there is no reason that at the least shouldn't.

A Tyranid pod list is dead. With the other ruling of no Independent characters in with a squad in a drop pod, which stops a Prime with warriors or the needed synapse in a squad. And don't forget the fact that a unit with a pod MUST deploy in the pod. Taking away all of our options for list building.
It's just seriously annoying.

Kirby said...

Agreed for the most part, it's annoying but kind of expected. What TGM mentioned (+ SitW nerf) is a bit more annoying but overall it does seem like Tyranid options have been limited (although I was never a fan of the reserve list to begin with).

3+ is still pretty good and isn't that much worse than a 4+ re-roll for BA and you can't be denied like a Pod list can but it would of been nice for the Nids to have something different.

You could always use a Swarmlord + Tyrant tag team :P for 600+ points lol

Chumbalaya said...

Annoyed is the word for me. I was tweaking a pod list before, but now I've lost my desire to.

Garth said...

The hive tyrant stacking thing doens't annoy me so much, we play 1650 my side, so we generally only run 1, if even at all.

What does annoy me is the DoM cover saves. I don't mind it not hitting ppl in vehchiles, we never played it that way... but cover saves, seriously, from a non-shooting attack?

Also, Shadow in the warp not hitting embarked units sucks too... hard.

But the spore thing is by far my biggest gripe. I was actually planning on a running a spore list where I drop down empty pods, blocking fire lanes and providing my on coming army with cover saves etc. That and IC's not being able to go in with units. Whats the point of a prime if he a) can't outflank with warriors AND can't spore in with them... yet marines don't HAVE to start the game in the drop pods and IC's can join squads that take a pod... it's like a complete double standard and it really ticks me off.

Emmanuel said...

"Drop pod marines? Reliable and nasty."

that's where I must respectfully disagree :

- marines come piecemeal too - only one half of the army on turn one, then 1/4th more, etc... most armies in the game can handle half their point cost of units+pods DSing in a 12" range. and if they DS farther, what's the point of having a pod ?

- they can be easily denied their alpha strike on first turn (kroot shield, all reserve, etc).

- once they're down they have lost all their mobility (that's why descent of the angels is far better).

- drop pods offer lots of easy KP (again DotA is better) - pray you don't roll annihilation, and then even in objective games you're not faring well in the last turns against a mobile army.

honestly DSing armies almost always suck :
- marines in pods would have been great if not for KP scenario and all reserve rules.
- deamons would have been great except for their inversion rule (and lack of antitank shooting).
- BA are a little better since they don't offer KP and are still highly mobile after DS, but they are not really strong in CC and have very short ranged shooting.

I've dismissed spores after a few tests, the nid army is much more superior when it stands on the middle field.

"Whats the point of a prime if he a) can't outflank with warriors AND can't spore in with them"

well actually I think his point is being one of the most powerfull units in the dex (with a devourer, a pair of bonesword and poison). never disappointed me. even when he was dying after taking 3 ML shots in place of his fellows warriors/zoans :)

Garth said...

Don't get me wrong, he's awesome as a wound pool and a deterrent for assault when attaching him to a squad of zoans or hive guard.

But he's suppose to pump warriors up, but if you take a spore for the warriors, then you can't put the prime with them. So the only way the prime is going to accompany the warriors is when they are foot slogging it.

Emmanuel said...

well actually I mentionned his protection of others as the worst way to use him. When he's with warriors he's the true deathstar of the nid army.

I usually field one with dual BS in a unit of lash-whiped warriors. this units can probably handle anything in the game in a one-on-one fight.

Only worry is their speed, but hey, you can't dream of giving them wings, that would be a bit unfair. I solve the problem with gaunts/raveners, catching the target unit and giving time for the warriors to join the fight next turn. speed is only a problem when you're not already covering all the middle-field with your cheap tarpit units :)

Another problem is resilience to heavy weaponry but you can solve this as with any other unit in the nid codex : redundacy, wound allocation, cover and target priority...

Once in CC, it's a bunch of WS6 poisoned power weapon attacks, with some ID test from the prime, resilience to powerfist and ennemy striking at I1.

Damon said...

Honestly, even with the Hive Commander nerf, drop 'nids are still more reliable than standard Pod Marines. Like mentioned above, Pod lists are actually impossible to make competitive because Drop Pod Assault forces piecemeal arrival of the army.

I'll take Black Templars full Pod armies any day over Marines and Space Wolves Pod armies. And 'nids are better than BT because you can get the +1 on your rolls.

The drop 'nid list is still possible, just not as good as it was before, and more challenging to build correctly. Which does suck, but at least it hasn't gone away.

No, the biggest problem with the 'nids FAQ is the nerf to Shadow in the Warp. Excuse my language, but that is pure bullshit. Librarians get to sit pretty in their land raiders and laugh at zoanthropes all day long, one of 'nids few options for dealing with land raiders. WTF?! Do Marines really need an EASY button of that size?

Raptor1313 said...

Regarding SM drop pods:
Even as a supplemental item, if I bring 3 pods I can GUARANTEE arrival of two of them, and fill them with nasty stuff. Sternguard and Dreadnoughts are among the nastier things that can come out and nuke something. It's at least an option they can bring to the table and rely on.

The Hive Commander 'clarification' ALSO hoses trygon/mawloc-centric builds. Frankly, the Heavy Support goes a ways towards defining the army; if you're taking it you're committing to either shooty (Tyrannofexes) or deep-striking (Trygon/Mawlocs). Hive Commander helps strip that away, is my point.

I also forgot a bit about the change to Shadow in the Warp.

Honestly, though, it's so short-ranged I've thoguht of it more as a 'nice extra' than something I'm actively trying to use. It IS a nice little 'screw you' to the 'nids to deny its use inside a vehicle, though. I mean, if a Librarian can increase its field coverage by measuring from the edge of, say, a Land Raider, then why in the hell can't a Zoanthrope effect the WHOLE VEHICLE?!

Emmanuel said...

for me DSing units have always been passable suicide units : they jump down, try to kill something important, then die promptly... thus the sternguard or dreadnought example. with pods you try to get more reliable DSing against the cost of a second KP.

DPA rules is a two-edged sword as it guarantees arrival of half your DSing units on the first turn, which is more reliable in a way, but also more predictable and less versatile.

making a whole DSing army work is another thing, and such armies have always been weak in 40k, and probably always be. As I said before mech in 5th and DPA rules could have been great, if not for the KP scenario and all-reserve/arrival on first turn possibilities.

As for nids, I stopped using spores after a few test games, and it has been a long time since any of my trygons/raveners used DS instead of just running (sliding ?) alongside the rest of my army. DSing CC units are a no-go IMHO.

About the SitW ruling, if you allow units in vehicles to be affected, then you should allow it for Spirit Leech of the Doom too :) In 5th we're slowly going towards a general ruling stating that 'units in transports measure from the edge of vehicle from inside out but not from outside in' :)

Damon said...

Regarding Drop Pod Assault, I know you play Tau well, Raptor, so you already know how to counter "nasty" Pod deliveries on Turn 1.

Deploy in a corner.
Surround with expendables.
Let the pods chew up a few dozen points of worthlessness.
Destroy the interlopers mercilessly.
Rinse, lather, and repeat on each subsequent game turn. In fact, it only gets easier each and every turn. ;)

Tau don't have a lock on this kind of defense.

And then you have armies like IG or Eldar that can decide to go all reserves. Then they watch half of the army deploy and then get to react perfectly with their own army coming in on subsequent turns ... only in perfect positions to counter.

In fact, reserves 'nids with Hive Commander boosting it give them this exact counter option, too. Other 'nids army can just castle up surrounded by termagants and flip the metaphoric bird to any Drop Pod Assault codex Marines or Space Wolves army.

Raptors8th said...

You also forgot the primes not getting to tag along ruling, which, combined with Hive Commander and the inability to not ride in the pods really screws with the all reserves armies.

GMort. said...

Having played a few games with my current Tyranid List I've found that the ruling on Shadow in the Warp not effecting Psykers in vehicles is the most annoying. It's meant to block out the Astronomicon but can't penetrate a few inches of armour, apparently. It's yet another example of GW's 'Your not allowed anything better than Marines have so there' policy.

My list is here if anybodies interested,


Dezzo said...

a drop pod tyranid army could have been a great selling point for people interested in the army and for those expanding their existent tyranid army.

pity gw decide to fuck things up because no other army is suppose to be more powerful than space marines.