Codex Review: Tyranids Elites

I need to start this review by expressing my hatred, my loathing, and my disappointment in the Haruspex. Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get on with the review. The Nids have some interesting units in the elite section, some which can be used to bring some unique tweaks to the army.  Today I am going to go through this list by going in an order of how often I used them, starting with the least often.

The cheapest unit, and the one I have never used, is the Pyrovore brood. They cost 40 points; have a WS3, BS3, S4, T4, W3, I2, A2, Ld6, and a save of 4+. They are armed with a S5 AP4 template weapon, and they also have Acid Maw, which allows them to make one S5 AP2 close combat attack. But when they die they go nuclear (I actually made a humor post about this earlier).  When they die every unit within D6 inches suffers a wound equal to the amount of models within D6 of the slain Pyrovore. I really cannot come up with a reason to even buy these models, let alone field them.

The Lictor brood is an interesting unit; it’s the basic version of the Deathleaper. You can only field three of these in a brood, like all of the elites, and while I actually have two of these, I have not given them a real chance. At 50 points, they do bring some interesting capabilities, just ones that I would not use. They are equipped with Rending Claws, Scything Talons, and Flesh Hooks. The also have a large number of Special Rules. Stealth, Move Through Cover, Infiltrate, Hit & Run, Fleet, Fear, and Deep Strike are the regular special rules. These units do not scatter when they arrive from deep strike, and if the Lictor is already on the battlefield, another unit will not scatter if it arrived within 6 inches of the Lictor Brood. I can see where this will be helpful, but not really in how I play my Tyranids.

And now we get to the Haruspex, oh how I hate the Haruspex. Don’t get me wrong, the new model looks amazing, in fact, that’s why I bought it and built it first. But in reality, it’s not that great of a unit. It is a S6 T6 5 wound MC that comes in at a cost of 160 points. Standard armament is a grasping tongue, crushing claws, and acid blood. In one of the games that I used the Haruspex, it killed one ork. One. That’s it. 160 points and it could only kill an ork. The Haruspex has an initiative of 3, meaning it usually goes second. It’s weapon skill is 3, so it will most likely hit on 4’s, so of the 4 attacks (if it got the charge off), odds are 2 will hit. These two will most likely cause 2 wounds. And every initial unsaved wound allows the Haruspex to cause an additional wound, but no more than the initial wound. The Hammer of Wrath, Acid Blood, or tail biomorph wounds also do not cause additional wounds. If the Haruspex causes a wound in close combat, it can regain a wound lost earlier, but only at the end of the phase.

The Haruspex’s only shooting attack is it’s grasping tongue. This is a S6 AP2 attack with a 12-inch range with precision shot. So, if it hits, it will probably kill, providing it is not a multi wound model. In fact, the only saving grace with the Haruspex is its Acid Blood. For each unsaved wound it suffers, the enemy unit that inflicted the wound must take an Initiative test at the end of the phase. For each one that is failed, the enemy unit takes a S5 AP2 hit with ignores cover. This helps the Haruspex, but I will play this unit when I just want to see it on the table. I really hate the Haruspex.

And now I start to move on to the units that I actually use. The Hive Guard Brood is a decent (although not great) shooty Nid. They hit on threes, and both of their weapons deserve some recognition. Its basic weapon is the Impaler cannon. It is a S8 AP4 weapon with a range of 24 inches that ignores cover and does not need line of sight. You want to keep these guys hidden, possibly in a building with very few windows. Just don’t forget that he is on the table, I have actually done that in the past. For 5 more points, a model can be equipped with a Shockcannon. This weapon only has a range of 18 inches, but it is a S5 AP5 blast weapon with Haywire. This makes the unit really good against vehicles. If all three shots actually hit, odds are you will glance a Rhino out of the game.

Next up are the flying brains, the Zoanthropes. I haven’t used these in a while, but I do still like them. These brains bring with them the only invulnerable save that the Nids can get (excluding the Swarmlord in Close Combat). Their armour saves are only 5+, but thanks to their warp field, they have a 3+ invulnerable save. Their special rules include Brotherhood of Psykers, Shadow in the Warp, Synapse Creature, and Very bulky. They are level 2 psykers who come with Warp Blast, can generate one more power from Powers of the Hive Mind, and of course they can get Dominion for free. The Zoanthropes are not the toughest psykers, or the strongest, but they are very survivable, and for a cost of 50 points per model, they are not that expensive either. A unit of three could be useful in a lot of ways, supporting the synapse range, warp blast can take out marines or even vehicles, just don’t get them into close combat.

In almost every list I create, I add at least one Venomthrope. These are very cheap, but with their special abilities, they add a lot of support help. They come in at 45 points and come equipped with Lash Whips and Toxic Miasma. They have 2+ poisoned attacks, shrouded, and the most important special rule, Spore Cloud. Spore Cloud conveys Shrouded on all friendly models within 6 inches. So, imagine a swooping Flying Hive Tyrant within 6 inches of a Venomthrope who jinks, it would have a 2+ cover save! As good as it sounds like it would be in close combat, it is so much better to keep it away from close combat. I use them in two ways, if I get to go first, or expect to go first, I will place the Venomthrope in the middle of my Flying MCs and Swamlord, this way they all have at least a 5+ cover save incase my opponent steals the initiative. It adds some protection. The other way I use them is to move him into position next to my Tervigon (who is usually already in some sort of cover) so that the Tervigon will have a better cover save on top of its armour save. Yes, at T4 with no invulnerable save he may give up first blood pretty quickly, but at 45 points, he adds a lot of cover and protection.

One of the units I miss from the old codex is the Doom of Malan’Tai. This was a fantastic model to drop into the midst of your opponents. The Doom does still get mentioned in the Codex, even if it is only a small paragraph. I hope it comes back at a later date, but I do not expect it.

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and I welcome any comments.




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