Yes, Tyranids have been released and it's time to dip into their digesting pools, I mean new codex. If you're new to my reviews don't worry, I'll be tackling the book in order, from cover to cover, writing about each thing quite literally as I look at it. I apologize if it's too stream of consciousness for some people, but I feel this is the best way to relay my thoughts and opinions on what the book has in it. Just no points costs because I like to stay off GW's lawsuit pending list. Likewise, I won't be listing every single unit statline for the same reason.
As normal I'll be sprinkling my thoughts through out, but feel free to agree or disagree with my assessments in the comments below.
Art and Lore
Lore runs the usual gambit of talking about the origin of the Tyranids outside of the galaxy, and how the Hive Fleets work. It covers the phases of a Tyranid invasion, the first, second and third Tyrannic Wars, and as well as a decent number of individual events for the big named Hive Fleets. Lore fans will likely see a number of things that have changed or have been expanded. Honestly I thought it looks pretty cool and plan to really dig into the lore more and read this thing cover to cover in the future.
Army RulesI'll say it upfront, if you're not a fan of random tables you're going to not like the new Instinctive Behavior tables. Each type of Instinctive Behavior (Lurk, Feed or Hunt) has an individual table that the unit must roll on if the unit is outside Synapse range and fails it's Instinctive Behavior test.
So yes, that means it goes if Unit is outside of Synapse, roll Instinctive Behavior test, if failed roll on the table. Better bookmark this page ahead of time. So what do these tables look like?
D6 Lurk Result1-3 Survive: Unit counts as failing a Morale test and must fall back
4-5 Seek Cover: Unit ignores difficult terrain, but takes Dangerous Terrain tests as normal. In the shooting phase the unit can shoot if it's in a building or area terrain (only models in the terrain), otherwise it can only run.
6 Stalk: The unit follows the rules for Seek Cover and gains the Stealth special rule.
D6 Hunt Result
1-3 Burrow and Hide: Unit immediately Goes to Ground. Units that contain at least one model with the Fearless special rule treat this result as Prowl (below).
4-5 Prowl: In the Shooting Phase th unit cannot Run and must shoot the nearest closest enemy unit in range and line of sight of at least one model in the Tyranid unit. If there is no target the Tyranid unit can do nothing in the Shooting phase. The unit cannot charge in the Assault Phase.
6 Destroy: Follow all the rules for Prowl (above). In addition the unit gains the Preferred Enemy special rule.
D6 Feed Result
1-3 Cannibalistic Hunger: The unit suffers a number of hits equal to the number of models in the unit. The hits are resolved at the majority strength of the unit (if drawn use the highest) and AP-. Wounds are allocated by the owning player and armor saves (but not cover saves) may be taken. After resolving casualties (if any) the unit can do nothing until the end of it's turn. Units of a single model treat this result as Devour (below) instead.
4-5 Devour: In the shooting phase the unit cannot shoot or Run. In the Assault phase, if the unit is able to declare a charge, it must do so agains thre closest enemy unit. If the unit can not declare a charge, it does nothing doing the Assault phase.
6 Kill: Follow the rules for Devour (above). In addition, the unit gains the Rage special rule.
So the results aren't particularly useful, but with a 50% of them being a solidly bad result, ending up out of Synapse looks like a very bad idea.
Shadow in the Warp makes a return once again with all models with the Psyker, Psychic Pilot and Brotherhood of Psykers suffering a -3 to their Leadership while within 12" of on or more models with the rule.
That's right, it's not just a penalty for Psychic tests anymore, but for their leadership period. This kicks Psykers square in the knees and I think it'll do some good to soften some of these models up.
Synapse of course is still in the book, with a range of 12" and provides Fearless to all the units inside the bubble. Additionally models that fall back into Synapse range automatically regroup (basically negating half the Lurk result if you've got a good Synapse safety net for your army to fall back into).
Last of the army special rules is the Warlord Traits table:
1 Nature's Bane: At the beginning of each of your Movement phases you may select 1 forest, jungle or wood terrain piece in 12" of your Warlord. That terrain peice becomes a Carniverous Forest (from the main rulebook) and remains so until the end of game, even if it was a different type of forest.
2 Heightened Senses: The Warlord, and all friendly models from Codex: Tyranids within 12" of it, have the Night Vision special rule.
3 Synaptic Lynchpin: The Warlord's Synapse range is 18"
4 Mind Eater: +2 VP for each enemy Independent Character model your Warlord kills in a challenge. Killing them through sweeping advances do not count.
5 Digestive Denial: After deployment, but before Scout redeployments, choose a peice of terrain in your enemy's deployment zone (it can't be one your opponent purchased). The terrain's cover save is reduced by one (to a minimum of 6+). A peice of terrain can only be affected by this ability once.
6 Adaptive Biology: If the Warlord suffers one or more unsaved Wounds, it gains the Feel no Pain (5+) special rule at the beginning of its next Movement phase and keeps it for the remainder of the game.
So a nice batch of Warlord Trait with some real winners in there, but I suspect people aren't going to be excited for the challenge or terrain ones because of how subjective they are to use, but I feel that overall they look pretty good.
Weapons and BiomorphsThere is a lot to cover here so I'm going to break this into sections, list what's in each section and then give my thoughts.
Dev Note here mentions that melee weapons are bought as pairs, so you need to have two sets of Tyranid melee weapons to get bonus attacks.So as we can see, only one AP2 weapon option (not counting Monstrous Creatures employing the good-old Smash) but that's not too uncommon for Tyranids. What is interesting, at least in my mind is the change to Scything Talons, changing them from a giving re-roll to AP6.
- Boneswords: Range: -, S: User, AP3, Melee, Lifedrain (any To Wound roll of a 6 made by this weapon has the Instant Death special rule)
- Crushing Claws: Range: -, S: +1, AP2, Melee, Armourbane, Unwieldy
- Lash Whips: Range: -, S: User, AP -, Melee, Swiftstrike (A model attacking with this weapon has a +3 Initiative bonuse during the Fight sub-phase)
- Lash Whip and Bonesword: Range: -, S: User, AP3, Melee, Life Drain, Swiftstrike
- Rending Claws: Range: -, S: User, AP5, Melee, Rending
- Scything Talons: Range: -, S: User, AP6, Melee
I wrote these notes as I went so they're in the same order as the weapons.
- Acid Spray: Range: Template, S: 6, AP4, Assault 1, Torrent
- Barbed strangler: Range: 36", S: 4, AP5, Assault 1, Large Blast, Pinning
- Stranglethorn cannon: Range: 36", S: 6, AP5, Assault 1, Large Blast, Pinning
- Bio-electric Pulse: Range: 12", S: 5, AP5, Assault 6
- Bio-electric Pulse with containment spines: Range: 18", S: 5, AP5, Assault 12
- Bio-plasma: Range: 12", S: 7, AP2, Assault 1, Blast
- Bio-plasma Cannon: Blast: Range: 24", S: 7, AP2, Assault 1, Large Blast / Stream: Range: 24", S: 7, AP2, Assault 6
- Cluster spines: Range: 18", S: 5, AP -, Assault 1, Large Blast
- Deathspitter: Range: 18", S: 5, AP5, Assault 3
- Devourer Weapons: Range: 18", S: 4, AP -, Assault 3
- Devourer with Brainleech worms: Range: 18", S: 6, AP - , Assault 6
- Drool Cannon: Range: Template, S: 6, AP4, Assault 1
- Flamespurt: Range: Template, S: 5, AP4, Assault 1
- Fleshborer: Range: 12", S: 4, AP5, Assault 1
- Fleshborer Hive: Range: 18", S: 4, AP5, Assault 20
- Grasping Tongue: Range: 12", S: 6, AP2, Assault 1, Gulp! (precision shots on a To Hit roll of a 6)
- Impaler Cannon: Range: 24", S: 8, AP4, Assault 2, Homing (can be fired at units outside of target's line of sight), Ignores Cover
- Rupture Cannon: Range: 48", S: 10, AP4, Assault 2
- Shock Cannon: Range: 18", S: 5, AP5, Assault 1, Blast, Haywire
- Spike Rifle: Range: 18", S: 3, AP -, Assault 1
- Spinefists: Range: 12", S: 3, AP5, Assault X*, Twin-linked (X=number of unmodified attacks in the model's attack profile)
- Spore Mine cysts: Range: -, S: 4, AP4, Assault 1, Barrage, Large Blast, Spore Bomb (long rule summary: it follows the rules for bombing units in the movement phase), Spore Burst (if you miss place d3 Spore Mine models under the blast marker so that they are in coherency, not withing Impassible terrain, and not within 1" of an enemy model)
- Spore Mine Launcher: Range: 48", S: 4, AP4, Assault 1, Barrage, Large Blast, Spore Burst
- Stinger Salvo: Range: 18", S: 5, AP4, Assault 4
- Strangleweb: Range: Template, S: 2, AP -, Assault 1, Pinning
- Tentaclids: Range: 36", S: 5, AP5, Assault 1, Haywire, Seeking (re-roll failed To Hit rolls against Zooming flyers or Swooping Flying Monstrouse Creatures), One use only
- Thorax Biomorphs: Ranged Weapons that are mounted to the Thorax:
- Desiccator larvae: Range: Template, S: 1, AP -, Assault 1, Fleshbane
- Electroshock grubs: Range: Template, S: 5, AP5, Assault 1, Haywire
- Shreddershard beetles: Range: Template, S: 3, AP -, Assault 1, Rending, Shred
- Venom Cannon: Range: 36", S: 6, AP4, Assault 1, Blast
- Heavy Venom Cannon: Range: 36", S: 9, AP4, Assault 1, Blast
Bio-plasma got a serious upgrade/downgrade that I rather like. No longer is it a small Assault 1 weapon, but now it's a blast template as well. the obvious problem is that now models who have it can't overwatch, but it looks like an interesting option that should get some more mileage in the future, assuming people are willing to risk it scattering back upon themselves.
Speaking of the Bio-plasma, I feel the Bio-plasma cannon looks like a pretty good option, depending on what gets access to it. Its has two good firing modes and a decent range and I rather dig it.
Flamespurt is a bit dissapointing. The flavor text mentions the Pyrovore, so unless they did something to buff that guy he's likely to see shelf space fairly often as he's still just packing a Heavy Flamer and no real foreseeable way.
Spinefists strike me as a missed opportunity to vary the strength as well as the number of shots, but it's not so bad that it honestly that I'm upset about it, but it seems like just a missed note if it weren't a free exchange for a model's Devourer.
Spore Mines themselves aren't too bad as they are much more controllable, if possibly less useful. They have a 3" movement range in the movement phase, and if they Run or charge they move half the distance rolled. They ignore difficult terrain, but can still suffer from Dangerous Terrain. During the Assault Phase at Initiative 10 they explode at S4 +1 for each mine in the unit beyond the first (to a max of 10). This is a large improvement over how they used to function where touching any other model (Tyranid or not) would cause them to explode. They don't explode when shot though so Deep Striking them into enemy territory might not be the most adventagious idea.
The change to the Venom Cannon weapons to no longer suffer a -1 on their penetration rolls against vehicles, which I feel is a very good change as it was something that really hampered an otherwise useful weapon.
BiomorphsLess here, but let's handle it in the same manner as before for simplicity's sake we'll approach it in the same manner as before, first the rules, then my thoughts.
- Acid Blood: (in close combat you may trade normal the model's number of attacks for a single attack with this profile): Range: -, S: 5, AP2, Melee
- Adrenal Glands: Gives Fleet and Furious Charge
- Blinding Venom: (in close combat you may trade normal the model's number of attacks for a single attack with this profile): Range: -, S: 3, AP -, Melee, Blind, Poisoned (6+)
- Regeneration: At the end of each friendly turn, roll a D6 for each model with the regeneration biomorph that has less than it's starting number of wounds, but has not been removed as a casualty. On a 4+ it regains a single Wound it had lost earlier in the battle.
- Toxic Miasma: Once per game, in any assault phase a unit with this biomorph may unleash its toxic miasma. If it does so at Initiative step 1, all enemy units engaged in combat suffer a number of hits equal to the number of models in base contact with any model from the Tyranid unit unleashing its Toxic miasma. These hits are resolved at Strength 3, AP - and have the Poisoned and Ignores Cover special rules.
- Flesh Hooks and Spine Banks: Models with these don't suffer an initiative penalty for charging enemies through difficult terrain. Additionally they can be fired using the following profiles:
- Flesh Hooks: Range: 6", S: User, AP -, Assault 2
- Spine Banks: Range: 8", S: 3, AP -, Assault 1, Blast
Toxic Miasma strikes me as a little odd as it has the Ignores Cover special rule, the only reason for which I can imagine is that they allocate the wounds as if they were shooting attack.
- Toxin Sacs: Gives the poisoned special rule
- Wings: Monstrous Creatures with these have the unit type Flying Monstrous Creatures
- Tail Biomorphs: Give models with them a single additional melee attack that is not affected by other melee weapons, biomorphs, upgrades or special rules of the owning model (or vice versa). They are:
- Bone Mace: Range: -, S: 8, AP -, Melee, Unwieldy
- Prehensile pincer: Range: -, S: 6, AP5, Melee
- Thresher scyther: Range: -, S: 4, AP4, Melee, Rending
- Toxinspike Range: -, S: 1, AP6, Melee, Poisoned (2+)
Tail weapons have a nice variety of options, depending on what you want to gear up for. It's a rather nice set of options I think.
The real winner here though are Flesh Hooks and Spine Banks for giving the army a much needed substitute for grenades.
Bio-Artefacts of the TyranidsRare, possibly one of a kind symbiotic organisms available to the Tyranids.
Maw-claws of Thyrax:
Range: -, S: User, AP5, Melee, Assimilate (if this weapon's close combat attacks cause an enemy model to be removed as a casualty, the model equipped with the Maw-claws gains Preferred Enemy special rule against all units chose from the same codex as the model removed as a casualty.
The Norn Crown:
+6" to Synapse Range
The Miasma Cannon:
Has 2 modes:
Miasma Spit: Range: 36", S: 1, AP4, Assault 1, Blast, Poisoned (2+)
Miasmic Spray: Range: Template, S: 1, AP 4, Assault 1, Poisoned (2+)
The Ymgarl Factor: At the start of the assault phase a model with this upgrade must alter their form with one of the following options: +1 Strength, +1 Attack, Armour Save improved by +1. The bonus lasts until end of phase and you can not use the same bonus in two consecutive turns.
The Reaper of Obliterax: A sentient Bonesword
Range: -, S: +1, AP 3, Melee, Life Drain, Shred, Swiftstrike
The Maw-claws are interesting as they give Preferred Enemy, but only after you've killed someone with them, which is fine but with them being melee weapons this requires some planning on the user's part.
The Norn Crown is a bit of an awesome and likely a near-mandatory buy for many people's Hive Tyrants, though it's worth noting that with the Norn crown and a good roll on the Warlord Traits table your Warlord could end up with a 24" synapse range. Pretty beastly.
The Miasma Cannon looks rather beastly in it's twin firing modes and wounding on a 2+, but the use of a blast template and not a large blast template means that this weapon won't be effective at forcing wounds as easilly as it seems. On the other hand it's not a bad option depending on what is carrying it.
The Ymgarl Factor strikes me as an interesting set of bonuses for the more close combat orientened beast but it is a little sad to see the Ymgarl Genestealers go away. I guess they managed to feed themselves to a hive fleet afterall.
The Reaper of of Obliterax looks like a nice weapon with it's bonus to strength, AP3 and bonus to Initiative, and Instant Death on a To Wound roll of a 6 makes this a rather nice option for the anyone who wants to put their Hive Tyrant into combat to take some heads.
Powers of the Hive MindYes, Tyranids have their own Psychic Lore now. No real surprise since they had a number of unique powers in the past.
Primaris: Dominion: Blessing that adds +6" to the synapse range
1. Catalyst: Blessing that targets Psyker's unit and up to one other friendly unit from Codex: Tyranids that is within 12". Gives Feel no Pain
2. The Horror: Malediction that targets single enemy unit within 24". Target must take a pinning test with a -2 modifier.
3. Onslaught: Blessing that targets a single friendly unit within 24". While the power is in effect the target unit can both Run and then shoot in its Shooting phase.
4. Paroxysm: Malediction that targets a single enemy unit within 24". While the power is in effect the target unit's Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill are reduced by D3 (roll once and apply the result to both)
5. Psychic Scream: Nova with range of 6". For each target unit roll 2D6+2 and subtract their Leadership. The unit suffers a number of Wounds equal to the result. Armour and Cover Saves cannot be taken against the Wounds caused by Psychic Scream.
6. Warp Blast: Witchfire. Can be fired as a Burst or a Lance. Each time this power is used the controlling player must choose which profile is being used, before the target is chosen.
Burst: Range: 24", S: 5, AP3, Assault 1, Blast
Lance: Range: 18", S: 10, AP2, Assault 1, Lance
Regarding Warp Blast, Zoanthropes do know it innately, but they can also generate one additional power so they don't need to randomly generate the power. In other words, they have not suddenly gotten worse due to randomness.
The Tyranid SwarmSo now we dive into the army proper with a look at which units go where, and what they have. But before we do that we need to mention what is in each Wargear list to cut down on the listing a bit as we go. So here is each list and what they contain.
- Scything Talons
- Barbed Strangler
- Venom cannon
- Twin-linked Deathspitter
- Twin-linked Devourer with brainleech worms
- Stranglethorn Cannon (1 per model)*
- Heavy Venom cannon (1 per model)*
- Rending Claws
- Lash whip and Bonesword
- Toxin sacs
- Acid Blood*
- Adrenal Glands
- Electroshock Grubs
- Dessicator larvae
- Shreddershard beetles
- The Maw-claws of Thyrax
- The Miasma Cannon
- The Norn Crown*
- The Ymgarl Factor*
- The Reaper of Obliterax
2x of Scything Talons, ML2 Psyker (Powers of the Hive Mind)
Can take: Hive Commander (gives a single unit outflank), Indescribable Horror (units taking a Fear test caused by this model roll and extra die and use the highest two results), Old Adversary (re-rolls all To Hit and To Wound rolls of 1 when fighting in close combat)
Options: Monstrous Bio-cannons, Melee Bio-weapons, Biomorphs, Thorax Biomorphs, Tyranid Bio-artefacts, Prehensile pincer tail, wings
Two pairs of bone sabres, ML3 Psyker (Powers of the Hive Mind)
Tyrant Guard Brood (1 per Hive Tyrant (including Swarmlord) in the army, does not use up a FOC slot)
Rending Claws, Scything Talons
Options: Crushing Claws or Lash whip and bonesword, Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands
Old One Eye
Crushing Claws, Scything Talons, Thresher Scythe, Regeneration
Stinger Salvo, Scything Talons, ML1 Psyker, Spawns Termagaunts (same as before, but at the end of the movement phase)
Options: Biomorphs, Thorax Bio-morphs, Tyranid Bio-artefacts
Devourer, Scything Talons
Options: Basic Bio-weapons, Melee Bio-weapons, Biomorphs, Tyranid Bio-Artefacts
Rending Claws, Scything Talons, Flesh hooks
TroopsTyranid Warrior Brood
Devourer, Scything Talons
Options: One model may take an item from the Basic Bio-cannons list. Any model can take items from Basic Bio-weapons and Melee Bio-weapons
Rending Claws. May take Sything Talons, Adrenal glands, Toxin sacs. May add a Broodlord.
Broodlord may take items from the Biomorphs list. Broodlord always knows the Horror power.
For every Termagaunt Brood of 30 models in the army 1 Tervigon may be taken as a troops choice instead of an HQ choice.
For every 10 Termagaunts, 1 may replace its Fleshborer with a Strangleweb
Any model may replace its fleshborer with: Spinefist, Spike rifle, Devourer. Unit may take Adrenal glands, Toxin Sacs
May take Adrenal glands, Toxin sacs
Ripper Swarm Brood
May take Spinefists, Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands and purchase the Deep Strike special rule
ElitesHive Guard Brood
Impaler Cannon (May replace impaler cannon with shockcannon)
May take Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands
Rending Claws, Scything Talons, Flesh hooks
ML2, knows Warp Blast, can generate 1 other power. When firing Warp Blast the number of shots is equal to the number of Zoanthropes in the brood.
Lash whips, Toxic miasma
Grasping tongue, Crushing claws, Acid blood
Options: May take items from the Biomorphs list, thresher scythe tail
Flamespurt, Acid blood, Acid maw
Fast AttackTyranid Shrike Brood
Devourer, Scything talons
Options: One unit may take an item from the Basic Bio-cannons list, Any model can take items from the Basic Bio-Weapons and Melee Bio-weapons lists. May take Adrenal glands, Toxin sacs, Flesh hooks
Two pairs of Scything Talons
Options: May exchange one set of Scything Talons for Rending claws. Any Ravenor may take Spinefists, Devourer or Deathspitter. One Ravenor Brood may add the Red Terror.
Red Terror (cannot be purchased individually)
Two pairs of Scything Talons, Prehensile pincher
Sky-slasher Swarm Brood
Options: May take spinefists. Unit may purchase Toxin sacs, Adrenal Glands
Fleshborer, Blinding venom
Options: May take Adrenal glands, Toxin sacs
Twin-linked stranglethorn cannon, Scything talons, Spore mine cysts
Options: May replace twin-Linked stranglethorn cannon with twin-linked heavy venom cannon. May purchase Stinger Salvo or Cluster Spines. May purchase items from the Biomorphs list.
Drool Cannon, 4x Tentaclids, Scything Talons
Options: May take Stinger Salve or Cluster Spines. May take items from the Biomorphs list.
Spore Mine Cluster
Heavy SupportCarnifex Brood
Two pairs of Scything Talons
Options: May replace one set of Scything Talons with Crushing Claws. May take items from the Monstrous Bio-cannons and Biomorphs lists. May take Spine banks, Bio-plasma. May take Thresher scythe or Bone mace.
Spore Mine Launcher
Bio-electric pulse, 2x sets of Scything Talons
Options: May take items from the Biomorphs list. May take Prehensile pincer or Toxinspike.
Bio-electric pulse with containment spines, 2x sets of Scything Talons
Options: May take items from Biomorphs and Tyranid Bio-artefact lists. May take Prehinsile pincer or Toxinspikes
Options: May take items from Biomorphs list. May take Prehensile pincer or Toxinspike
Bio-plasma cannon, Scything talons
Options: May take items from the Biomorphs list. May take Thresher Scythe tail.
Acid spray, Stinger salvo
Options: May replace Acid spray with Fleshborer hive or Rupture Cannon. May take items from Biomorphs and Thorax Biomorphs lists.
Honestly, without actually play testing the army I can't give a 100% good or bad on the army, but from what I'm looking at the army looks pretty interesting. 120 points buys you a fully sized unit Gaunts which makes running large hordes fairly cheap and feasible, at least points wise.
Honestly the whole book looks fairly solid with a lot of nice options spread within, and some nice changes to things that have long been seen as less than useful. It's got me curious to see the Tyranids hit the table again. I don't know if they'd be able to take on the powerful competetive builds, but in less competetive realms they look like they'll be a fair amount of fun to play with and against, provided you plan around the Synapse rules as it seems like losing Synapse will really cripple the army now.
There are a couple of losses though with the Spore Pods and Zoanthrope characters going away but honestly I don't really miss them here. Maybe they'll make a return, but being left out here wasn't a huge deal for me. Besides, that Zoanthrope was too much of an auto-include in the army, and I really think this helps even out the options a bit.