A waste of 205 points. That is the best way I can sum up my experience with the Maleceptor in my recent game against Augustus’s Minotaurs. I knew that I probably would not use this unit all that often, but I wanted to get a few games in just to get a true feeling for the usefulness of this unit. But after the one game, I truly believe that this pretty model will spend most of the time sitting on my shelf.
The stat line of the Maleceptor is WS3, BS3, S6, T6, W5, I3, A3, Ld10, and it has an armour save of 4+. That is actually in line most of the new MC units of the Tyranids. The Hive Crone, The Toxicrene, and the Harpy all have 4+ instead of the 3+ that the Carnifex, Swarmlord, and some of the others have.
Don’t get me wrong, I will admit that there are some good points to this unit. It does give the Tyranids another invulnerable save. It may only be a 5+, but this only the third invulnerable save that the Tyranid army really has. And it is a T6 MC, so even wounding the unit is going to be tough. The Maleceptor is also a synapse creature, meaning it is fearless and also allows better control over the instinctive behavior units.
However, the psychic power it comes with is just not worth the points. It doesn’t even sound good on paper. I do believe that it fills a small gap in the army as it does give the Nid player a sniper, but I am not sure that sniping is truly necessary.
The power is a warp charge 2 focussed witchfire with a range of 24 inches. The target model takes a leadership on 3D6 (vehicles count as having a leadership of 10) and if they fail the test, the target takes D3 wounds with no armour or cover saves allowed. A vehicle takes a single glancing hit with no cover saves allowed. The Maleceptor can attempt to manifest the power up to three times in each psychic phase. However, each attempt is resolved separately and an enemy unit can only be targeted once per phase.
So, since it is a warp charge 2 power the Tyranid player would have to throw four dice at it to reliably get the power off each time. So to actually get it off three times it would cost 12 dice, based on averages. The opponent now has the chance to deny the witch, admittedly this is a slim chance, but the Maleceptor also runs a decent chance of periling. Now, say the power go off, the Malecaptor actually has to hit its target, which there is only a 50% chance with a BS of 3. After that, the opponent takes his leadership test, which is possible to pass, although harder than a normal leadership test. After all of that, if all goes well, the target takes d3 wounds, meaning that if it is a multi-wound model, there is at least a 1/3 chance that it will still survive.
All of this is a lot of work just to get this power off. In the game I recently played, I did get the power off once and managed to kill one tactical marine with it. I also rolled Warp Blast as its second psychic power, which did much more damage than the Psychic Overload. Heck, I even charged the Maleceptor into close combat and managed to kill a tactical unit, equaling the kills from the overload.
It’s a shame that such a good-looking model will spend most of its time sitting on a shelf.