Well the codex has been out for almost a week now. I have been following a lot of the discussions over on Dakka Dakka and there is a lot of very good information over there. I am hoping to get in a game with my 2k point Khorne daemon army versus a new Tyranid army this Friday versus the winner of the 2008 Ard Boyz championship. We have been discussing the new Nids quite a bit over the past month and we are both very excited about the new codex.
To me it looks like Tyranids will be a powerful army but it might take a good tactician to do well with them. It's hard to say for sure yet as the codex is still very new. A lot of people are saying there is nothing in the codex that jumps out as being over the top. Some people have gone so far as to say that the new Tyranids are weak... fragile and all the good units are expensive for what you get. Here is my list of the units I think are the most powerful and best choices:
= HQ =
Very cheap for what you get plus a beast in close combat. He is a synapse creature as well. A lot of people are mistakenly under the impression that the Deathleaper is your only psychic defense. It's not true though as every synapse creature has Shadows in the Warp (SitW) which forces enemy psykers within 12" to take their psychic tests on 3d6 versus 2d6. With the plethora of synapse creatures available and the option to deepstrike/infiltrate/outflank your entire army it's going to be easy to cloak the enemy with SitW. I am planning to deepstrike my Alpha Warrior with a Warrior brood in a mycetic spore. They are a shock troop - that is, the unit drops in and disrupts the enemy line. Arm the Warriors with death spitters (S5) to shoot on the side armor of chimeras. You can also take one venom cannon... Why not, it's S6 AP4 blast, also good for shooting at side armor and great versus a cluster of guardsmen. It's all about busting open as many enemy transports the first turn you arrive from reserve so you can then juice them the following turn in close combat. My Alpha Warrior will have a bone sword and lash whip. Everyone has adrenal glands (furious charge) and toxin sacs (poison weapons). The Warriors also have rending claws. It's a fairly small unit and they will take a beating from melta and plasma but if the Alpha Warrior can survive the first round of enemy shooting then he will do some serious damage when he charges! The lash whip lowers all enemy models in base contact to I1 so at worst charging into cover he's going to hit simultaneously. The single bone sword can potentially instant death enemy models while a pair has a much better chance but I prefer to just take one with the lash whip since the latter works so well if you do have to charge into cover. The Alpha Warrior also confers his WS(6) and BS(4) to any unit he joins so he's a real buff to the Warriors, especially their shooting.
He is expensive no matter how you kit him but he is vital to the army. At first I was seriously considering taking two Alpha Warriors and joining them both to the deepstriking Warrior brood since the Warrior Prime is such great value for the points BUT upon further reflection I realized that a flyrant has a lot going for it. Sure the flyrant is going to die fast but he really buffs an all reserve army... You can outflank one unit (hormagaunts) and he adds +1 to your reserve rolls as long as he is alive. Suppose you decide to field an all reserve army with nine units, +1 to your reserve rolls means that statistically 6 units should arrive the second turn. 50 percent of the time you'll be able to go second so in those cases your opponent loses two turns shooting at your army. You come in on top of them and many of the opponent's units are only get to shoot you one time before you engage them in close combat. It's all about saturating the table and overwhelming the enemy. A lot of people are still thinking in terms of 4th edition - they are designing lists with the majority of their army starting on the table waking towards the enemy line... These types of lists you'll see lots of units like the Tyrannofex. I have never had a problem with walking hordes, invariably you'll get in a lot more shooting versus a walking horde and you can focus fire in the best units bringing them down before they can assault. The flyrant can be equipped as a killer in close combat and if he manages to get into assault he is a sure character killer... bone sword + lash whip + implant attack + paroxsym is death on wings. Paroxsym is a psychic power that has 12" range lowering one enemy unit to both WS1 and BS1... this alone could keep him alive long enough to charge. I'm also kitting my flyrant with brainleech devourers - six S6 shots great for cracking open transports, again especially chimeras if you can shoot at side armor. Tyrants can take another psychic power to leech back lost wounds plus regeneration. Remember that the Tyrant is also a synapse creature and has SitW!
= Troops =
•Genestealer Brood with Broodlord
I am planning to take a squad of 20 genestealers with a Broodlord. They can infiltrate or outflank and fleet. If you go first then infilitrate this horde and assault the first turn. 20 genestealers with a Broodlord can flip transports and will survive a charge into cover. This is an ubèr assault unit plus a delivery system for the Broodlord. My Broodlord will have implant attack so he is another character killer. This is one unit that is going to wreck a lot of armies for sure! They have game winner status written all over them. This unit will also have adrenal glands and toxin sacs... Anything they hit in close combat except for possibly a landraider or monolith is dead dead dead... And don't forget the Broodlord is another synapse creature as well(SitW).
Take a squad of 20 and equip them with adrenal glands plus toxin sacs. You can outflank them because of the Tyrant. This is another shock troop like Alpha Warrior joined to the Warrior Brood. They come in and smack something really hard or you use them as a screen for another unit. They have fleet. Furious charge plus poisoned attacks means they are rerolling to wound versus T4 or less. Outflanking means you don't have to use more points to put them in a mycetic spore.
= Elites =
Most people are saying he's not worth the points and competing with Hive Guard and Zoanthropes. Zoies are a must have and I'll talk about them in length below. To me Hive Guard aren't a good choice. You can put them in a mycetic spore so they'll land in range to blast armor, sure... but to me Zoies are so much better with the S10 AP1 lance plus Zoies are also synapse creatures as well. The Deathleaper has a lot of synergy going on with the Zoies as it can potentially shutdown enemy psykers' psychic hoods. The Deathleaper also has the most special rules and can pretty much make it impossible for enemy units to shoot it unless they roll up very close in a transport. The Deathleaper is also not bad in close combat with a high initiative, flesh hooks that shoot (S6 rending), high weapon skill and rends on 5+. This lictor can also hit and run plus leave the table then reappear... He's a living yoyo for sure. Like I said most players think these points are better spent elsewhere but he is extremely strategic and very psychological. Infortunately he's not a synapse creature... Hee!
Put 2-3 in a spore and light up a landraider, it's gone. Zoies are also tall enough to provide a 4+ cover save to your monstrous creatures as well. Their shooting is phenomanal, they can destroy any armour out there. Remember like I said above they are also synapse creatures so if you can possibly combine their SitW with the -d3 to enemy psyker leadership from the Deathleaper they should be able get off their shots when they arrive from reserve.
= Heavy Support =
This is another close combat monster that can tunnel and has fleet plus 6 wounds. I've equipped mine with regeneration. You can upgrade him to be a synapse creature as well and it doubles the number of his shooting attacks but at a stiff 40 points I don't think it's really worth it.
So there are my top choices. More thoughts on the new Nidz later this week... I'll cover some of the units that are popular but not really all that great.