Thursday, December 01, 2011
The problem with Tryanids
I used to laugh at 5th edition Tyranids. It is probably one of the worst written (if not the worst ever) codices published by GW. On top of that a lot of people have come to recognize that GW is shafting all the xenos armies. Orks were the only exception - their codex was released for 5th edition and was highly competitive at the time. Some people claim that Orks are a fourth edition codex but I strongly disagree as it was released towards the tail end of 4th edition - it is obvious to me the codex was written with 5th edition in mind. Except for the new dark eldar all of Phil Kelly's codices share a common theme - there are a few super units that are pretty much must take (e.g., Nobz, Lootaz, big squads of shoota Boyz, battlewagons with def rollz, Mek Boyz with KFF, Ghaz, etc.) and the rest are eye candy at best for the most part. There is not one xenos codex released for 5th edition on par with Imperial Guard, Grey Knights or Space Wolves.
Often when I tell people how much I enjoy playing Tyranids and that I think they are competitive I see the chuckle in their eyes. When the Tyranid 5th edition codex was released some of the 40k Internet gurus were very excited about the army and put forth a lot of effort to design a competitive army. It never quite worked out for anyone though and eventually Tyranids were labeled as at best a fun army but definitely not competitive. The image stuck. I never thought any of the net lists I saw were all that great to be honest as they all revolved around using waves to win. I've talked about waves before - it doesn't work well at the competitive level for Tyranids. Waves work on the premise that you start with the majority of your army deployed on the table and that has always been the biggest reason for the epic levels of fail. Around the same time that the gurus were playtesting their Tyranid lists I theorized that a fully reserved army was the way to go. The best units from the codex are genestealers (including Yrmgal) and Trygons. The Doom is also an uber unit but doesn't always perform well on a consistent basis. Carnifexen were nerfed along with the Hive Tyrant plus they are both overcosted for the points. There are some really cool units like Lictors and the Tervigon but due to inherent design problems with the codex they cannot consistently perform well versus the three top armies... It's very much an uphill battle.
The problem with Tyranids is the stigma associated with the codex that it's not a competitive army. A couple of months ago I approached a good friend and asked him if he would sell me his Tyranid army, which he did. This allowed me to start playing Tyranids quickly without much effort to build the army. It's a fully reserved army and only required a few minor tweaks to bring it over to how I wanted to play. I have had lots of success and found the army capable of defeating the top three armies on a consistent basis. I've had more than my fair share of awesome dice but it takes more than just dumb luck to win with Tyranids. That to me means the army requires a skillful player to win. It is what it is. Take only the best units and go from there. Tyranids are scary monsters in melee, have some decent shooting and are quite mobile. If you successfully put that all together and stick with it you're eventually going to do well. Stick with it is my advice.