January 15, 2010

Tyranids: Test-games

So with the codex hitting the shelves tomorrow, I want to recapitulate the last games I had with the new tyranids and I thought, I'd share my experiences.
The first game was against space wolves and my 1750 points list looked something like this (I lost the paper where I wrote it down so just a mere summary):

Hive Tyrant
- venom cannon
- bonesword and lashwhip
- tactical insight
- 2 guards

2 zoanthropes

2 hive guards

3 warriors
- 2 pairs of scything talons

3 warriors
- rending claws

3 warriors
- deathspitters

2x15 termagaunts, no upgrades

20 hormagaunts
- adrenaline glands

10 genestealers with 1 broodlord

trygon alpha

We played with 4 objectives, deployment dawn of war. I deployed the tyrant, all termagaunts and the mawloc, the hormagaunts would outflank (tactical insight) as would the genestealers.
So I won't go into detail of the game, I rather tell you how the units performed.

The Tyrant: I am not sure about him. He isn't particularly good but he isn't bad either. He soaks a bit of firepower and can do something with the venom cannon. But he is slow and in this game he didn't reach close combat.
At this point I considered to take him only with close combat weapons and let him run.

Zoanthropes: Funny, are considered a great thread and therefore are taken down in no-time. But their 3++ save is really annoying for the opponent, it took 4 tl-lascannons and a lot of small arms fire to kill them. I think you need more than two.

Hive Guards: Nice. They didn't do that much in this game, but they aren't too expensive. So next time I'd take more.

Warriors: I really think they should be kept as cheap as possible because they die pretty quickly when they are shot at. But they are needed to keep the synapse (at least in this list). In close combat they aren't too bad but nothing astonishing. Rending claws are disappointing, re-rollable to-hit rolls are better in my eyes. The death spitters aren't bad too. More a choice of taste I think.

Termagaunts: 15 is a good number for them I think, they soak up some fire and stay "functional". In close combat they suck, so I would give them toxin sacs. Great choice for their points.

Hormagaunts: I regretted the adrenal glands. Admittedly they took out a rhino but they got beaten pretty hard by the ensuing close combat with the disembarked space wolves. Next time with toxin sacs. But I have to say I like the greater speed of the hormagaunts compared to their little brothers. Their special rule ("flink" in German) nearly guarantees a 5-6" running distance which makes them really fast. Ok leaping would have been better, but hey, you can't have everything. I know, the so called internet-wisdom will probably come to the conclusion that termagaunts are the better choice, but I think the 2 points more you spent for the hormies are worth it, for you gain 1 attack and re-rollable 1s on the to hit roll. And to be honest I don't think the fleshborer will be used to often on the termas. So more speed is great for the part of the gaunts who want to get into grips with the enemy or charge the enemy's objective. A mix of both will be fine I think.

Genestealers: Disappointing. Very disappointing. I was able to charge a 10 men squad without any casualties by fire...and they lost close combat after 2 turns. Very sad. They used to be so good but they went the way of the Dodo.... The broodlord is nice with his psychic power where one model in base to base contact cannot strike (the power fist in this case) but he didn't do much too.

Trygon alpha: I think the alpha is not needed. Better save the points or give the basic trygon other upgrades. Otherwise he is nice. Very nice and very destructive. I think he is somewhat a must have now.

Mawloc: Meh. Just meh. To depend on the deviation of his deep striking to use his template weapon is bad (remember that you have to place him like every other unit which deepstrikes, so he has to stay away from enemy units by 1". You cannot deepstrike onto units and use his template!) I always deviated away from units and had to place him instead of the template. And then he simply gets beaten to pulp. I don't think he is worth it. Better take the trygon for a few but well spent points more.

After my first game I was a bit disappointed about the performance of the tyranids in close combat. I lost really every single one. I thought the 'nids are said to be a close combat army. Ok, space wolves are great in hand to hand combat (4 attacks on the charge with re-rolls to hit hurt). But it was my first game, so what do I know of 'nids. Heads up and right into the next game.

With my first experiences made, I designed a new list:

- scything talons
- bonesword and lashwhip
- tactical insight
- 2 guards

2x2 hive guards

3x3 warriors
- see above

16 hormagaunts
- toxin sacs

2x15 termagaunts
- toxin sacs

2 trygons
- adrenalin glands

- 2 pairs of scything talons
- adrenaline glands

The idea behind this list was to offer as many as possible juicy targets to the enemy so that he is some kind of overloaded. But each "juicy target" destroyed should not lead to a collapse of the entire list. And I want more close combat than shooting.

Next game was again against the same space puppies. This time my army worked so much better than before. I deployed everything this time except the trygons which would deepstrike.
I won this game with 3 to 1 objectives.
Outstanding were the trygons! They are real beasts, especially when they appear together as few armies are capable to take down 2 TMCs with toughness 6 and 6 wounds in just one round of shooting (and I was able to keep them out of charge range). Ony trygon suffered 4 wounds, the other one none. They wreaked havoc over 3 turns and one survived till the end. 7 attacks on the charge with S7 and re-rolls to hit are pure awesomeness, equals 5 to 6 dead marines. Even Arjak wasn't able to take both of them down.
The toxic gaunts are better too. They put out significantly more damage than without. Take toxin sacs!
The carnifex is ok, but nothing more. But he fills his role in offering another target you cannot ignore on later turns.
Again the hive tyrant is so average that I am not sure about how to use him properly. And I forgot to choose and use his psychic powers...so I can't say anything here.
Overall I was pleased with this list and so I made only light adjustments:

Hive Tyrant again with venom cannon
Warriors all with death spitters

With this list I played against Trotzki's daemons and against Clausewitz who fielded my tau. Against the daemons I managed a draw and I lost against the tau, mainly due to some mistakes I made during deployment and movement and bad luck.
This list performs really well and is quite balanced concerning shooting and close combat and has a nice mix of horde and big bugs.

So this will be quite that what I am going to paint in the next weeks/months. Except that I am going to change the elite section. I ordered 2 more zoanthropes so I am going to try a brood of 3 of them. And three warriors will retain their pair of scything talons as I modelled them this way.

Hopefully I have time at the weekend to take some pics of my bugs I have so far. Currently I am working on the hive tyrant and his guard. Since the last photos I finished 8 stealers, the space hulk broodlord, 8 gaunts and a zoantrope.
That's it for the moment and I can't wait to get my hands on the real codex with hopefully nice fluff and pics.

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