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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Null Zone Strategies versus Grey Knights

I recently read an article by Fritz how to use Null Zone tactics for Tyranids. As fickle fate would have it I was the ringer in a local tourney playing Tyranids. The Tyranid list was a reserve army comprised of the following:

Hive Tyrant - wings, bone sword and lash whip, paroxysm & Hive Commander

Doom - Mycetic spore|cluster spines

Trygon Prime - toxin sacks

10x genestealer
10x genestealer
10x Hormagaunt
20x termagant - Mycetic spore|cluster spines
3x Warrior - 2x devourer & barbed strangler - Mycetic spore|cluster spines

10x Yrmygl genestealer

It was an army I borrowed from a friend who was playing in the RTT. I like the list in principle but would have tweaked the Trygon to have adrenal glands plus I would have kitted the Hormagaunts with toxin sacs and adrenal glands as well. I haven't played Tyranids in a long time so I was a bit rusty and made a few mistakes. Two of my three games were versus Grey Knights. I noticed some interesting facts in general about Grey Knights that I've missed before now - fighting them with a weaker list is a good learning experience indeed! I think we all know that Tyranids got the short end of the stick - they don't match up well versus GK in general but they do have a few advantages. The last game was versus the army that won best overall so I'll focus on what I learned during that game. Note this isn't a batrep per say - I'm simply reporting my findings to hopefully help others.

I talked about Null Zone in the beginning and I'm not referring to the SM psychic power - like I said I'm referring to a recent article by Fritz. It's hard to beat Grey Knights in close combat when they are at full strength because they have so many advantages and it's really hard on Nidz for all the obvious reasons. Here is the thing though - Grey Knight armies tend to be small so they can only cover so much ground. In an objective based mission such as Seize Ground or even Capture and Control you can make them pay. Tyranids are kind of like bears... The small ones might at first look cute and cuddly but there's lots of them and there is certainly going to be some big mean ones close by. If you mess with their porridge don't be surprised if they aren't happy about it. ; )

So right off the bat resist the urge to immediately engage them in melee... Your assault units will invariably die in droves if you do. It's better to force them to spread out to the point where they can no longer effectively support each other. You should be playing keep away initially and well into the mid game if necessary. Whatever shooting you've got should be focused on slowly weakening them over the course of the game. I used the termagants and the Trygon Prime to soak one squad of terminators in the last game. The termagants died the turn after they arrived but on the other hand their sole shooting phase inflicted some damage. I kept the Trygon Prime out of melee until the end of the game so he could shoot as much as possible and this helped as well. The big assault focused on the Hive Tyrant, Hormagants and the Trygon Prime assaulting a remnant squad of terminators with a Techmarine attached. I was able to wipe them all out except for the Techmarine who lived by the grace of his warding stave - hey it happens sometimes.

Just like how Space Wolves Thunder calvary prevents you from running amok admist the Grey Hunters the big bad Paladins are there to protect their weaker brethren such as Strike squads. You can expend a lot of energy trying to get at units such as the Strike squads but to me that's a wasted effort unless they are out in the open deployed away from the bulk of the Grey Knights army... This can happen if the GK player is using their Warp Quake to deny your deep striking units so keep an eye for these opportunities.

Make sure to spread out the objective markers to force your opponent to break up their castle. What you really want to do is isolate the Librarian so his psychic powers can't augment other units he is not attached to such as the Strike squads - if you can negate Sanctuary that is a really big help for melee units that can't take grenades such as every unit in the Tyranid codex.

By turn four it's time to start looking for opportunities to finally assault and you'll want to hit them with the bulk of your army. If you've done it right those Paladins have suffered some wounds along the way and are no better than Grey Knight terminators in melee (except for WS5 of course). If you hit them with enough attacks they will fold and then you are looking in at those Strike squads.

So that's it for now. It's going to be extremely difficult to beat an army such as Draigowing at killpoints but if the game is decided by objectives then it can be done. Force your opponent to spread out and weaken them over the course of the game finally engaging them during the end game to punch through their forces for the win.

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