Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can Tyranids Compete? Part 1


So I was recently surfing some of my favorite blogs and came across this: http://whiskey40k.blogspot.com/2010/10/rapid-fire-recap-battle-for-salvation.html#comments

In the comments section they started to discuss Tyranids, the lack of representation at the event, and their lack of competitiveness overall. First off let me say this isn't me arguing with anyone or calling anyone out. Mikes blog gets the mention because that's where I came across this again and it really got me thinking. I'm not sold on Nids not being competitive. I recently started a dedicated Tactics article on Dakka Dakka about the competitiveness of Nids in the current meta-game that can be found here: http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/319613.page

 Now that article is more of a Review of the units in the army with a few tactics and combo-builds built in. It does have some of the more solid Tyranid players I know contributing but it doesn't answer the question of if Nids are truly competitive. Mike makes a good point in his comments on his blog that Nids lack the duality you can find in some of the more popular and well represented codex's like IG, SW's, and though he doesn't mention it Dark Eldar. Another point made is on other blogs is there lack of transports or their ability to 1 + 1 that every else, other than Daemons and Necrons, can take advantage of. Tyranid Armies reliance on certain units such as Tyranofexes and Hive Guard to stop mech is also something many people point to as a major flaw in their design. Their susceptibility to what some consider to be the current #1 codex (Space Wolves if you've been living under a rock) doesn't help nor does another Phil Kelly book coming out that a lot of people in the blogosphere are saying is going to put the nail in the Nid coffin. So can Tyranids compete with all of this stacked against them? I think so personally.

Let's recap the problems Nids have:
  1. Lack of Mech
  2. Lack of Duality, over reliance on certain units for Anti-Tank
  3. SW's
So we're going to explore each of these for this segment. And in Part 2 try and build a list taking the above issues into account to see if it's possible to build a truly competitive Nid army.
  1. Lack of Mech
This hurts us (that's right, not you, us) in more than a few ways. Mech is used to increasing the lifespan of a unit, pushing people off objectives late game, negating types of weaponry from being useful, bring more fire support to the table, and finally for enhancing duality in a list. Since we don't have mech as Tyranids what are our mechanisms or tools for doing the same things? We don't have any. This is the first step to realizing that we are a completely different army and need to be looked at in a completely different way than any other army currently in 5th Edition. Sure we can say Catalyst to increase lifespans of units or the Mawloc/Deathleaper for contesting objectives late game but those are gimmicks or are reliant on certain units surviving. We don't have Mech and we need to get over this fact just like Daemon players like Yermom and Brent from Strictly Average have gotten over it.
  1. Lack of Duality, over reliance on certain units for Anti-Tank
This is a valid objection to Tyranids being non-competitive at the highest level. Our units are more specialized and generally only fall into the anti-troop/anti-mech categories. This makes enemy target priority easier. On the other hand we have the ability to saturate both target priorities by properly building a list. The advantage we do have is that our "Anti-Mech" units are generally our toughest and hardest to eliminate units in the game. Our "anti-tank" is generally considered to be located on exactly 4 models; Tyranofexes, Zoanthropes, Hive Guard, and Harpies. I see this as a fallacy that most people bring to the Tyranid codex. These units are actually beginning turn anti-tank. Suppressing fire if you will while the army closes. And even better is that people will focus on these units as you close. Meaning that as long as you don't build your list around these units you'll find yourself reaching the enemy with the majority of your CC oriented units almost completely intact. We'll talk more about this in the list building segment of this series but I believe this problem can be overcome with list building and certain strategies.
  1. SW's
So it's my personal belief that Phil Kelly is pissed that they didn't let him write the Tyranid codex. Space Wolves have 2 primary things that make Tyranids cry and that most people will tell you is impossible to overcome. The first is Jaws of the World Wolf. This is a killer against Tervigons, Carnifexes, and Tyranofexes. Against Tervigons in particular this is brutal as they are widely acknowledged to be one of the better units in the codex. The other thing Space Wolves have that make us cry is 18+ missile launchers for a ridiculously low price. So how do we overcome them? We use catalyst partially to force target selection. We use self generated cover saves and terrain to mitigate damage. The JotWW is much harder to defend against. You have to get the model on foot as early as possible. From there it's completely situational how you deal with it. But it's something to consider when constructing your lists and tactics.

I realize part of this can come off as Learn to Play Better. It's not meant that way. I think that we need to adjust the way we view Tyranids and look at them from a unique perspective separate from the rest of 40k. Next time we'll look at the process I go thru to build a list with Tyranids and we'll see if they can be competitive.

18 comments:

Shep said...

Ok, I'm on board...

Awaiting part two.

Hulksmash said...

It'll be up in the next day or two. Just enough time for this to sink in really. I'm about halfway thru it. Glad you like it so far.

Purgatus said...

Hulk - will be looking forward to your analysis. I love Nids and feel that perhaps the book has not been fully "unlocked" yet, though I do not claim to be the one to do it, lol.

Chumbalaya said...

Looking forward to it. I'm thinking of using an army that the internet considers underpowered for next year's tourney season and nids are topping the list right now.

Black Blow Fly said...

I really enjoy playing Nidz but would never take them to a competitive event. SW are basically an auto win versus them plus its looking the same with the new DE.

G

Hulksmash said...

I don't agree at all BBF. SW's are far from an auto-win though I feel DE are going to be the codexes toughest match-up I don't think they'll be auto-win either. I think poorly built and not so well played Nids get hammered and generally this is what you see at larger events if they show up at all. Also the internet screaming Tyranids are bad has led to lower showing among the larger tournaments nationally.

@ Chum and Purgatus

Thanks guys, I hope you guys enjoy the second one. It'll probably be going up tomorrow now since I put up my army building approach today.

Ben said...

I feel like I have performed a great service to the Hive by kicking off that discussion with Mike if it is leading to a more rigorous treatment of competitive Tyranids. Thanks for taking this on!

Something I have been wondering about... when people say Tyranids aren't 'competitive', are they really saying they don't stack up well against mech Guard and Razorspam? Are there other 'standard' tournament lists that they truly struggle against?

Black Blow Fly said...

Nidz dont have any answers to stuff like like Long Fang missile spam and JAWS... it aets them alive. I have some good friends who have won GTs and they gave up on Nids quite some time ago. It is a fun army but nothing moar than that.

G

Ben said...

Jaws doesn't seem to be as much of a concern though, because while it is deadly to Tyranids it isn't particularly useful against anyone else. Unless someone is tailoring their list against 'nids, which is highly unlikely in a competitive setting, you just aren't going to see this power all that often. Missile spam is a much more serious problem, because that is something you are definitely going to run into.

Black Blow Fly said...

JAWS is very popular. Lots of players take that and Living Lightning.

G

Ben said...

Interesting... I see a lot of murderous hurricane and living lightning, but almost never jaws. Considering that BFS had _one_ tyranid player, and I think other tournaments are seeing similar levels, what are people targeting with jaws?

Hulksmash said...

@BBF

Missile spam and Jaws as mentioned are the 2 scariest things to deal with against SW's no doubt. But there are ways to work around it. It's just a very, very tough fight. But that would be like me personally saying SW's suck because some well-built Ork armies are pure murder on me. Every army is going to have a problem. Nids biggest sin as far as being competitive goes is having so much trouble against one of the more popular codexes.

@Ben

Yes, the biggest reason people find Nids uncompetitive is due to their issues with SW's. I personally have 0 problem with guard armies, mech or not, but SW's are the problem child of the Nids and like I said earlier, they're popular. As for Jaws I've seen it on most Runepriests just as insurance really. Since 90% of the time they are going to use LL having JottW in reserve costs them nothing and it's nice insurance against Nids.

Black Blow Fly said...

Hulk it is looking like Nidz are going to get the short end of the stick versus dark eldar as well. Me I dont want to run an army that has major issues with the most popular army (SW).

G

Hulksmash said...

@BBF

First let me say thank you for putting the effort into being more polite of late across the internet. I personally appreciate it.

And secondly I think DE like some of the lists I'm already considering will be even worse for Nids than SW's are. It's all the AP2....So I'll agree that Kelly seems to hate Nids. But I still think they'll be able to compete. I'll probably go into it more as I actually get some games in against DE when the codex comes out :)

Ben said...

@BBF - I can definitely see your point, but I think that would quickly become a very expensive and frustrating way to play 40k. I definitely become too emotionally and financially invested in my various armies to just walk away from them when they get trumped by the latest release.

Black Blow Fly said...

Well Nidz are great for pickup games and that is where I tend to see them the most. I have an army myself, I just dont use it for competitive play. There is some really cool stuff, from a competitive POV I wish that everything was not so over-balanced.

G

fubarwankle said...

thanks I would like to learn more just got into 40k and have made up a nice army of nids. mostly from consignment pieces from the local game store. there is 4 in our group and we have made up our own map board.
wanklesmisfits

fubarwankle said...

where is the second part to this article?????
can any one point me to the link

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