The chitinous horde prepares to finish off Satys in the final of a three part data slate series for Tyranids. Let's look a little closer see how the Hive Fleet does it.
So adorable. Don't you just want one of your very own?
Now this book works just like the other formation dataslates we've seen: it doesn't use up an FOC slot in your army, and costs no additional points above the points cost of the models, and any book that the main army could ally with, this book can too. Too bad Tyranids don't get access to any allies to do that with.
So that little detail aside, let's get into the thick of things. I'll be eschewing talk about artwork here as the dataslate doesn't have art to talk about, as much as it does images of models, so if you like those then you'll like the pictures in this thing, if not you won't. There really isn't much to say beyond that so we'll skip that here.

Lore



The story here is the final stages of Hive Fleet Leviathan's invasion of the planet Satys as it hunts the forces of the Aurora Chapter, Blood Angels and the 87th Catachan Regiment desperately trying to stave off the Hive Fleet.

Here's an excerpt of the story from the book to give you a taste of the kind of writing in the dataslate:

As the Hive Mind withdrew its battered swarms, the human defenders were left to count the cost. Occupied with repulsing the land-bound horde, they had been fully distracted. They had not seen the high-flying broods of Gargoyles and Harpies that plunged down upon their escape vessels. The defence guns had continued to fire as the roiling shadow of the swarm had fallen across the ship nest. The bodies of the Gargoyles had absorbed the shots without difficulty, dozens of lesser beasts tumbling broken from the sky to protect their larger kin.
It was a trio of Harpies that had struck the killing blow, diving low over the prey’s ship nest and scattering spore mines in their wake. The bioexplosive spheres had drifted down with languid inevitability, detonating amid drums of volatile liquid and great crates full of ammunition. The results had been spectacular. A chain reaction tore its way across the ship nest, each blossoming fireball feeding into the fury of the ones that came before. Craft were torn apart while the screaming prey were immolated along with their Tyranid tormentors. By the time the fury of the firestorm subsided, there was little left but drifting ash.
Information torn from the brains of fallen prey leaders had told the Hive Mind all it needed to know. Without those craft, its victims could not escape the destruction of their world. Now they would be forced to lurk within their stronghold until the end came, or else emerge from hiding in one last hopeless attempt to alter their fate. Either way the Hive Mind would be waiting to devour them.
I won't spoil how it plays out but I will say that you do get a sense that the Hive Mind is playing a very long game and takes a very long look at how it achieves it's goals.

Formations

Bringing five additional formations to the table, this dataslate brings the total formation count of formations to a grand total to almost fifteen (you'll see why I say "almost" soon), the most for any army at this point. With the Tyranid's lack of allies this sheer amount of additional diversity is a great addition to the army and goes a long ways to giving the army some much needed love.

Bioblast Node

Consisting of a Tyranid Warrior Brood, 3 Carifex Broods and a Tyrannofex this formation comes with the requirement of the Warrior Brood carrying at least 1 option from the Basic Bio-cannon in the Brood, and the each Carnifex model taking at least 1 option from the Monstrous Bio-cannon list. In exchange models in the formation have the Split Fire rule. In addition models within 12" of the Warrior Brood re-roll to-wound rolls of 1 in the shooting phase.

This looks like a decent fire support option for the Tyranids, packing a fair amount of heavy weapons into a formation. Too bad I'm not a fan of most of the Tyranid guns, but people who like them may get some mileage out of this formation.

Wrecker Node


Consisting of a Tyranid Warrior Brood and 3 Carnifex Broods this formation prohibits the Warrior Brood from taking Basic Bio-Cannons and the Carnifexes from taking Monstrous Bio-Cannons. In exchange the formation gains the Rampage of Destruction rule:
Carnifexes in this Formation inflict D3+1 Hammer of Wrath hits instead of the usual D3. In addition, models in this Formation that are within 12" of this Formation’s Tyranid Warrior Brood can re-roll failed To Wound rolls of 1 in the Assault phase.
Basically the punchier version of the Bioblast Node I rather like this one a fair bit more as Carnifexes ramming into the enemy and tearing them up is something I enjoyed quite a bit when I played the army. Now I can't speak for how effective this in the current edition. but I do like the re-rolls to wound and the extra Hammer of Wrath attack giving the Carnifexes 2-4 Impact hits instead of just 1-3.

Tyrant Node

With a Hive Tyrant, who can't take Wings, a brood of 3 Tyrant Guard and a brood of Venomthropes (any number in that brood) the Hive Tyrant gains a fair amount of protection and a bonus 6" to its Synapse range. 

Actually, this may not be a bad deal for something that doesn't take up a FOC. I kind of like it, even if you have to have a walking Tyrant to do it.

Subterranean Swarm

Filled with a Trygon Prime, Trygon, Mawloc and 3 Ravenor Broods this formation comes with no restrictions. For taking this combination it gains the It Came From Below... rule:

All units in this Formation must be placed in Reserve. Make a single Reserve Roll for the entire Formation. When the Formation arrives from Reserve, deploy the Trygon Prime first, by Deep Strike, using its Subterranean Assault special rule. Once the Trygon Prime’s final position has been established, the Formation’s three Ravener Broods immediately enter play.
Place the Ravener units so that all of their models are wholly within 6” of the Trygon Prime’s base and in unit coherency. These models cannot be placed within 1” of enemy models or within impassable terrain; if any models cannot be placed, these excess models
are removed as casualties. The Formation’s Ravener Broods cannot move in the Movement phase or charge on the same turn they arrive, but can shoot or Run.
The Formation’s Trygon and Mawloc enter play via Deep Strike as usual.
A bit of a long rule, but it can put a fair amount in your opponent's face at the same time, which can bring a fair amount of shooting as well. Maybe not the best use of points, but it may trigger a Brown Pants moment for anyone who doesn't expect it when it works. Potentially hilarious, but there is a significant chance of backfiring as well so mileage may vary.

Living Tide

Do you like Formations? Do you like being able to reference memes? Well then GW has the Formation for you! The Living Tide isn't just a formation, but a formation with other formations inside of it. So prepare your best "Yo Dawg," as you take a look at the most points and model heavy formation to date:
  • 1 Tyrant Node
  • 1 Synaptic Swarm (Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II)
  • 3 Endless Swarms (Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II)
  • 1 Wrecker Node
  • 1 Skyblight Swarm (Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II)
Yes, you read that right, this formation is made of five other formations!

So what does this monstrous formation require investment wise? Well for models you'll need, at minimum:
  • 1 Hive Tyrant (no Wings)
  • 1 Hive Tyrant (with Wings)
  • 3 Hive Guard
  • 1 Tyranid Prime 
  • 21 Tyranid Warriors
  • 90 Termagants
  • 90 Hormagaunts
  • 1 Venomthrope
  • 30 Gargoyles
  • 2 Harpies
  • 1 Hive Crone
  • 3 Carnifexes
Yes, you read that right, the Living Tide really lives up to it's name be requiring no less than 224 models total and a minimum of 3,095 points without upgrades or extra models over the base requirement. I hope you plan on playing a really big game to field this monster.

Seriously at the point where you're playing games large enough to bring this, and the minimum 1 HQ and 2 Troop choices you're required for the army it's allied to you might as well be playing Apocalypse, but assuming that you decide to play a 4,000+ point game, what does this monster do?


Well in addition to every special rule that every formation already has:
  • Synaptic Command Network: As long as the Hive Tyrant from the Tyrant Node Formation has not been removed as a casualty, then all other Synapse Creatures from this Formation that are within its synapse range add 6" to their own synapse range. 
  • The Swarm Unleashed: As long as the Hive Tyrant from the Tyrant Node Formation has not been removed as a casualty, you can re-roll failed results when rolling to see if a Termagant, Hormagaunt or Gargoyle Brood from this Formation that has been completely destroyed is replaced (see the Endless Swarm or Skyswarm special rules in Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II)
That's right, the synapse range on all Synapese creatures is increased and it's even harder to permanently kill off those Termagaunt, Hormagaunt and Gargoyle Broods. I hope your opponent is set up for a very long game, especially if you manage to protect that Hive Tyrant from the bulk of their guns.
This is might be the most epic formation just for the sheer amount of stuff involved in it. My hat, if I had one, is off to GW for putting this idea into print because it is both epic and insane. Kudos to anyone who has the models to pull it off too.

Final Thoughts

Living Tide really sells me on this thing along for the sheer amount of insanity it brings on the table, though it means you'll need the second dataslate to run it as well. Now since I don't play Tyranids at this point I can't speak for the power of the other formations in this book, but they're interesting and even if I don't like the Bioblast Node that much, mostly due to some old grievances involving Tyranid guns, I can say that I appreciate the different things you can bring to the table and I look forward to seeing these different locally.
 
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