Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Tyranid Codex: Where did it all go wrong?

So I finally managed to pick up my order of the new tyranid codex and while there are a lot of neat things in their especially in the unique characters I really have to say I do not like most of it. Seems like every change they made which made the units make more sense or better was counteracted by something else which just did the opposite leaving player with less choices. Here is my rundown of things I am not liking:

1. Synapse and Instinctive Behavior: Losing the immunity to instant death from double strength weapons is annoying for many of units (14 out of 34) but at least it forces opponents to try to balance very high strength(8-10) for multiwounds with high shots vs MC and swarms. Failing back toward board edge now vs toward synapse before is also fine. No big deal.

The two classes of Instinctive behavior is also a good concept if the leadership for so many units were not so low. Sure gaunts should be 6 but that seems to be the default level for many things meaning that when your synapse breaks down 58% of the time you no longer have meaningful control of the units. Several of the feed units are not really ones you want in combat or could have shooting weapons they will not be using. Some of the lurk units look like it is fine like Biovores or Hiveguard but then you note that the rule says visible targets so even though your weapons do not need line of sight you have to go running for terrain instead of shooting if you have tried to hide them behind solid cover. Especial annoying in the fast attack where your garagoyles will be at best not advancing and shooting their assault 1 S4 guns or running for cover. At least they are only running for cover so that you do not have to take dangerous terrain tests when you get there(you are not force to fly, it is an option). Sure you only move d6 but it will almost never be the direction you want if you have solid opponents.

2. Lichtor: Here is an unloved model from the last codex, too expensive and fragile especially once kill zones where removed. Maybe you could jump out and pop light armor, you got the pheromone bonus, and if he hung around other guys they could use his feeder tentacles, but lets not mention that stupid dangerous terrain issue for your required deepstrike deployment. Now he is a little tougher with the extra wound but his stealth save is worse with only a plus one (no longer 5+ cover and armor in the open), his pheromones require him to be on the board but he does act as a beacon, but the real kicker is that he cannot assault anymore the turn he arrives eventhough he is no longer deepstriking but placed. He can attack with his 6 inch range attack but it has about a 1 in 6 chance of doing anything with the rend after you account for the BS 3. Maybe you can damage a vehicle but since it is a Ap - weapon it is not likely to destroy it. He is an old marine cheaper but still not a great buy.

These are major changes for a unit that needed just a tweak. Take the old unit fix the deepstrike dangerous terrain problem clearly and add a 1 new special rule: Lightening Assault, Lichtor assaults are so fast that opponents do not get defender reacts move and only models engaged can be taken as casualties. This would make the lichtor slightly able to snipe hidden fists and such if they were exposed at the edge of unit near terrain. Would have made a nice unit maybe worth all 80 points without the feeder tendril buff and maybe no running after deepstriking.

3. Hive Tyrants. I will admit that Tyrants were probably undercosted in the last codex with very little competition for the HQ slots. The problem now is that it is hard to make a good shooty tyrant without wasting abilities that you are being forced to pay for like WS8 and 4 Attacks. You cannot take 2 of the heavy weapons to make a sniper tyrant plus the range on these is wasted since you have paid for 2 of 4 psychic powers all of which are 12 inch or less shooting attacks. You have to be in the thick of it. The dakka tryant has paid for the psychic powers that are probably of less use than his devourers. If you want to go close combat like they are pushing you, the classic problem of getting the slow monster into battle is left. No pod for the Tyrant so wings it has to be and now you are really really expensive without any additional upgrades.

4. Fexes. Fexes were also undercosted before also with limited competition for FOC spaces. But can anyone honestly say they think the pricing was off by like 65% especially since the general pricing for many things has gone down between the two books. So which book was play tested so poorly that the pricing for the fex gets an E grade. One of them must have been for a 65% point change to be required.

Now if you want a shooty fex you are at about the same cost for the trygon but the Instinctive behavior:feed gets in the way of shooting 41% of the time out of synapse. Throw in a pod to get up close and personal for short range dakka fexes and you are at the same cost as a Trygon prime who has just as many shots and is better at CC with higher weapon skill and more attacks plus more wounds. Sure he does not instant death things due to the lower strength but he has a lot going for him. A close combat fex with no upgrades and a pod to get there is again the cost of a trygon with fewer attacks, lower weapon skill, no shooty weapons, not fleet, and fewer wounds. Where do fexes fit in? Only thing going for them seems to be instant death in CC plus crunch AV 14 all side armor without needing the 2d6 penetration (Monolith). Throw in Jaws of the Wolf on the I1 model and what is the point.

5. Rules Questions. Lets not forget the stupid rules issues like if the Mawloc deepstriking directly on units with scattering since they are normally classified as impassible terrain(positions models cannot be placed) or whether the tryanid close combat weapons bonus stack or you have to pick 1 to use each turn if you have several. Sure you have a lash whip and bonesword as standard so what will it be negating opponents armor saves or reducing some of their initiatives to 1.

I am sure I will have more rants to follow. As a note I do not have a nidzilla army already just 1 tyrant and the 3 fexes from the assault brood box all waiting for me to decide what to do with them.


  1. You are pretty upset it seems about the lack of shooty MC options for your Tyrant and carnies. It is logical because that is how they worked best in 5th ed until this codex dropped, but ask yourself "what are nids going to do when they invade?" Are they likely to be an agressive wave of creature driving into the enemy with sneeky units like trygons and lictors disrupting the enemy and paving the way for the swarm? Or are they likely to stand on top of the hill, holding their ground firing big guns? The first idea actually sounds like nids, the latter sounds like Guard. In my opinion, they fixed what was wrong with the last codex. Other than that, enjoy the nids!

  2. Thanks for reading the rant. Most people did not run close combat fexes last edition since they were not very good. While they are better now you need the drop pod to really use them effectively and then as I noted they cost the same as the trygon who is in most cases better.

    Same for the Tyrant, It needs wings to get into the action and then it is the cost of a Trygon Prime which is probably still better with 2 more attacks and wounds.

    I just do not like to see the 2 dominate MC's from the last edition sort of have very little roll in most lists.

  3. I can see the desire to push back against nidzilla but a lot of that was taken care of in the 5ed main rule book. Making the big guys more expensive and hitting the medium guys with instant death at the same time really just seems to leave people with less viable choices.

    I am sure people will be able to make good lists still but mostly different from the old lists.

  4. It's a very different book than the old one. I am personally a fan of it. Here's what I suggest you do with the fexes- convert two of them into Tervigons. Those things are great. I usually spawn around 50 termagants per game with two of them.

  5. Faolain, That is exactly the point.

    It should not be so obvious that tervigons are better than fexes now, but it clearly is. Average spawn of 22 termis cover 2/3 of the cost for the beast plus you get a scoring, 6 wound monsterous creature with synaspe which can be expanded to 18 inches.

  6. I get where you're going ... luckily for me I hadn't built my Carnifex's yet - so I was able to swap one for a Trygon. Carnifexes suck badly and are now just conversion material for the Flying, Breeding, Shooting monsters...

    In my analysis, the Biovore is actually the second best Heavy Support option. The Mawloc stinks and the Trygon is so far ahead of all the other options in attacks (6 S6 rerollable MC attacks - eek!) add furious charge in there and even at a fast vehicle the Trygon can hit twice!

    The biggest nerf though is genestealers - these guys are pretty pointless now and completely outclassed by Hormagaunts... point for point.

  7. All in all the whole Codex seems to bring the 'Buy all the New Stuff!'-thing to a new, even higher level.
    You've already got 6 Carnifexes? Poor you, field them in Squads of 3! Oh no, they are all equipped differently? Buy more fexes and make Tervigons, Tyrannofexes and other MCs out of them! And after that buy more more and more Gaunts! Not to forget all the bits you'll need for equipment...

  8. Sadly, it sounds like your Carnifexes will be looking for a conversion into something else in this book!

  9. Luckily they are not built. One is definately become a Tervigon. The other 2 will probably stay fexes.