Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tyranids & Me & List Design in the Age of SW, DE, & GK

First I’d say buckle in. This is going to be a long one.

Second, I have to send a damn you out to L'Etat C'Est Moi for re-sparking my interest in Nids. I fell away from them a bit after running them for most of the early part of the year last year in favor of other armies. Not because I didn’t find them competitive but because I was getting burnt out.

Nids are a funny army for me. It’s one that I tried to build back in 3rd edition with a friend but we never finished it and the models disappeared. Neither one of us to this day knows where they went. Fast forward almost about 6ish years and I build a list for early 5th edition using the last book. Loved it. Played it pretty heavy for quite a bit and then put it down. The new book comes out and I make a few conversions and poof, new army. I play that off and on for a bit but my Admech Daemons pull me away. Later I decide I really wanna run me some Nids so last year I played them almost exclusively for 6 months before putting them down again in favor of Space Wolves and Deathwing.

2nd Ed., So Sue Me :)

Why am I telling you guys all of this? Well I wanted you to know where I’m coming from when it comes to the Tyranid codex. Other than Orks it’s probably gotten by far the most face time of any army in my collection (large amount of 3rd & 4th were good ork years). It’s with that that I’ve decided I’m going to get back into them.

My problem with Tyranids is two-fold. First is the painting and conversions. Both are rather mediocre in comparison to most what I’ve been producing over the last three years. This has a tendency to make me leary of bringing them to big events where painting is a chunk of the scoring as I’ll never pull down more than average with them.

The second issue is creating an all comers list that can take down SW, DE, and GK with something like regularity. Why only these three armies? Well BA’s are a joke to most good Nid players, IG just don’t have the quantity of fire to generally stop a well built Nid army, and Tyranids are Necrons worst match-up. The rest of the codexes can compete but a decent build and proper tactics will see you through most of them. So what do we need to be able to compete with SW, DE, and GK?

Let’s first breakdown what each of these armies has that is a major weakness for Tyranids against them. With DE is the large amount of Poison with basically 48” ranges and lots of St8 AP2 goodness in the blasters and dark lances. With Space Wolves it’s ML Long Fangs and Jaws. With GK it’s Psyfle Dreads, Cleansing Flame and Force Weapons.

While you might not always run into these lists 2/3 of extremely popular tournament armies and you’ll need to be able to hang with them. How do you compete with all of these things combined? Well that’s the difficult part.

What we’ll need in addition to the standard ability to be able to kill lots of tanks:

-Speed/Range/Firepower to force the DE to engage
-Relatively high Initiative across the board
-Fast Moving early disruption elements
-The ability to swiftly blunt psychic powers
-Resiliency across the board

The first question is can we pack everything we need into a general list? I think that we can easily counter the GK/SW issue but that in doing so we leave ourselves open to Dark Eldar and what they bring to the table. Most Nid armies lack the speed to catch Dark Eldar and force them to actually fight.  This is mostly due to the added resiliency people tend to put in to counter the losses they’ll take closing with the GK & DE. How do we survive 96 Poison shots per turn when it’s backed up by around 18-24 St8 AP2?

My answer at this point is to shift to non-MC based armies for the time being. Some of you might remember this article on Trygons vs. Raveners:

It highlights the differences based on survival and damage output. This line of thinking is what’s drawing me toward non-MC based Nid list. It’s even causing me to lean toward Warriors. Let me expain.

I love my Prime/Fex combo. Love it. Puts out solid shooting with solid CC as a counter attack. It’s pretty resilient with 7 Missile Launcher survivable wounds. It rings in at between 280-290 depending on the Primes kit. But it’s extremely vulnerable to Dark Eldar poison shots, Jaws, and GK force weapons. Now what if we replace that Fex with 4 Warriors? What if those 4 Warriors are armed with dual boneswords and deathspitters? For 10pts less than the Carnifex you have a more resilient squad vs. poison and force weapons that is just as resilient against missile fire. It has higher CC damage output by far and equal ranged support. It does suffer from diminishing combat power as casualties mount but actual combat power is almost equal over the course of a game.

Can you see why I’d be willing to make this shift? I realize it’s a different approach but I’m finding more and more than in this last year of 5th edition large target force multipliers aren’t the way to go forward. While some of this might change in 6th I think it’s time Tyranid players start to move away from the big T6 models. It’s not a fight we can win within the current environment.

I’ll be posting up some army lists in the near future that have to do with my ideas on moving forward in this format. I might even get a few batreps up on them in the near future at local RTT’s while I test the waters.

Thanks for reading and as always, discuss J