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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Necron Phase • Soon To Begin

I should be receiving my new Necron army soon from Next Level Painting - expect to see lots of cool pictures, more tactical articles and some batreps featuring Necrons. I'm not going to shelve my Tyranids - rather they will be used primarily for upcoming tournaments including the American Team Champiomship this summer.

That's all for now.

Revised 2000 point Tyranid Army List

I have still been playing lots of games to test the list - this list I'm posting here will probably be my standing list as its gone through lots and lots of tweaks since I first began to seriously play Tyranids. Most of the heavy hitters are still there. I've added more elements for firepower and beefed up on genestealers. I think this list is very balanced and has four scoring units. Tyranids need synergy and coordination between units... You have to think a lot to do well and I always enjoy the challenge.

- HQ -
Hive Tyrant:
Wings, Bone Sword + Lash Whip, Twin Linked Devourer w. Brainleech ammo, Adrenal Glands, Paroxsym, Life Leech

Alpha Warrior:
Bone Sword + Lash Whip, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands, Regeneration

- Elites-
8x Yrmgarl Genestealers

3x Zoanthrope -Mycetic Spore

3x Hive Guard

- Heavy Support -
Trygon Prime:
Adrenal Glands

- Troops -
15x Termagant - Mycetic Spore

3x Warrior:
Bone Swords + Lash Whips,Toxin Sacs, 2x Deathspitter & Barbed Strangler

14x Genestealer & Broodlord:
Toxin Sacs & Scything Talons

8x Genestealer

I have started to play the army with some units on the table now so I no longer consider it as always having to be a played as a fully reserved army. This army has more firepower and is better at dealing with heavily mechanized armies—there are lots of options. I had a great game versus Grey Knights earlier this evening... Came right down to the wire at the end and I was way ahead on killpoints believe it or not.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Rebuttal...

This is a rebuttal to some comments from Kristwithak in regards to my latest article about building units that are both unique and effective.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Makes any Unit both Unique and Effective

What Makes a Unit Both Good and Unique

By hte Black Blow Fly

This article deals primarily with designing units for 40k that are good in terms of performance and also unique. There is lots of information available on the Internet that covers what are good units but I find often this type of information tends to be repetitious. We all know just how good are IG veterans, Purifiers and Grey Hunters - no one can deny these are good units plus they are well costed in terms of what you get for the points. The same can be said for BA assault squads and even DE Wyches. There are common templates available for these types of units right at the end of your fingertips and you don't often see too much deviation from the norm. For the most part I am going to steer clear of these in this article - like I said there is already a world of information available - it is common knowledge. I would instead like to explore other units that tend to be overlooked in 5th edition and also show a few alternate approaches to a couple of commonly fielded units as well.

To me one of the major advantages when fielding units that are less popular from a competitive point of view is that other players will tend to have a hard time deciding how to effectively deal with them due to their lack of experience versus them. For example how many times have you faced off against an Ork army with Tank Bustaz or Flash Gitz? Typically at a tournament it's one and you're done - you play versus a certain player once then move on to the next opponent. How often have you played a game where at the end you ended up losing and couldn't help thinking if you had it to do over again you probably could have won knowing what you learned during your loss? I think there is more to this type of approach than what might at first appear on the surface as an unusual aberration. For example it is commonly stated on the Internet that infantry heavy eldar armies are gimped but in fact in the hands of a skilled player they have actually done quite well. I know to a few I'm preaching to the proverbial  choir but remember this article is tailored towards those who might like to learn something new.

And now for some good news ...

It's possible that the worst 
Of the inside 
Could take our pencils away 
End creating 
Can't let the teachers lay waste 
Of a new mind 
Prevent emotional drought 
And watch the pace quicken 

Try to never touch 
Try to never touch 

Won't keep holding back my conscience 
There's a choice to not end up like you 
Not end up like you 

Let's turn our wretched debates into action 
By diplomacy gain, back a handshake 
Tied and unable to tend, to the wounds that were made 
So much closer to shame we see but never touch 

Try to never touch 
Try to never touch 
Won't keep holding back my conscience 
There's a choice to not end up like you 
Not end up like you 

One more man 
Tearing at the throat of 
One more man 
Never dropped as fast as 
One more man 
Coloring the fate of 
One more man 
Is better than the fate of you 

Try to never touch 
Try to never touch 
Won't keep holding back my conscience 
There's a choice to not end up like you 

Holding back my conscience 
There's a choice to not end up like you 
Not end up like you

Sunday, February 26, 2012

40k Team Tourney next weekend in Tampa • Descent of the Tendril

Me and my good buddy John Lennon will be hooking up to form our collective tendril of super charged Tyranids. I believe we each get to bring a 1500 point army. John is regarded by some as an Avatar of the Swarmlord. I feel pretty lucky he picked me to be on his team. I'll be posting thoughts on my list and hopefully John will provide his feedback as well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How So Often We Are Suckers ...

First please notice I did not say why as I have nothing to prove. All I have to say is that we are all so often suckers. Those who wish to manipulate seem to always know the right strings to pull and it seems so easy at times. I have many levels of hardened defense but one seemingly knowing smile can open the door. Hey I am not by any means advocating a tough outlook on life - I like to be happy - that said it just pays to be careful. I could try to talk about how this has some significant meaning to 4ok and gaming in general but I'll just say be careful - a pretty smile has sunken many fleets.

Most often I just want to be happy and not bothered... I think that is okay. Each day is different but most often they are mostly the same. Mostly things just change a little bit over time. If you're not paying attention then it might seem like a big change but it was probably happening all the time. If you're not aware then probably you'll eventually become aware. Better late than never as the saying goes.

That's all.


More Necron Progress...

Hi everyone !!

NEXT LEVEL PAINTING is doing an awesome job with my Necrons...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

BeakyCon GT 2012

Hi everyone !! BeakyCon will be held again during October. We are currently planning on the weekend of October 6-7 at the Marriott Tampa airport. One of the prizes we will be giving away is a 2000+ point dark eldar army pro painted by Next Level Painting. This includes the cases as well as two Forgeworld Voidraven bombers.

We are expanding the field to 64 players - there will be six rounds with one undefeated player at the end. It's going to be a great time !!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tyranids vs. Mechanized Imperial Guard - Part II

Here again are some more thoughts on how to competively play a reserved Tyranid army versus mechanized Imperial Guard. A lot of these tips are universal and can be applied to playing against other types of armies. As I said in my previous article you need to closely follow two strict guidelines to make this work:

First the table must have at least 25 percent terrain with some pieces blocking LOS. Tyranids can't win a gun battle trading shots across the table versus Imperial Guard. You need cover to win.

Second you must wisely place your objective markers (OM) forcing the Imperial Guard to come towards your OMs. There is a large number of different scenarios that can occur so I will try to break it down as simply as possible. Typically there are three to five OMs for Seize Ground so you'll be placing 1-2 for three, 2-2 for four and 2-3 for five. If you get to place the majority of the OMs (2 for 3 or 3 for 5) then place yours so they are in positions that you can defend them safely from within cover—usually it's best if you can place your OMs in cover and hidden from your opponent's LOS. You don't want to be too aggressive placing them—if you lose the roll for the choice of your deployment zone then your opponent can turn the table on you... You need to carefully take into consideration what is the actual deployment (Dawn of War, Pitched Battle or Spearhead). If you have to place the minority of objective markers (1 for 3 or 2 for 5) for Seize Ground then you need to be even more careful and again you want to defend yours from within cover. I have found that typically IG players like to cluster their OMs in hope they can deploy first and force you to come to them (very similar to what you're trying to achieve). The main point is you want to place your OMs hidden behind LOS blocking terrain, preferably in cover and make sure to spread them apart—that is don't cluster them close together. Also remember that typically you want to go second which is another good reason not to cluster the OMs.

Fortunately placing objective markers for Capture and Control is much more simple. Place your one OM deep inside your deployment within cover and hidden from LOS if possible. The big advantage here as opposed to Seize Ground is you know ahead of time which deployment zone is yours prior to placing your one OM. You want to place it far back such that your opponent has to move their units via the furthest distance possible to take or contest your OM. This buys you more time to halt the progress of the objective grabbing units.

How IG Takes Objectives & How To Stop Them
It is simple... If you have properly placed your OMs then the IG player must commit some of their units to come at you and take them. They will typically use scoring units mounted in either chimeras and/or Vendettas so you'll need a good means of stopping them dead in their tracks as far away as possible from your OMs. Hive Guard and Zoies are your best as I don't see a Tyrannofex integrating well in a reserved army. Typically you will have to wreck or destroy 3-4 of their transports to force them to footslog on towards your objectives. Once they lose their forward transports they are in for a world of pain.

I think this is also fairly simple as IG give up a lot of killpoints. I have been reconstructing my list to eliminate easy killpoints for my opponents—for example I only run two mycetic spores now and I play more defensively now forcing my opponents to come towards me and my army is composed of 12 killpoints. Versus IG for me in regard to this objective (assuming it's the sole objective) I mainly want to make sure I have a few units left by the end of the game which is not too hard to accomplish if there is some LOS blocking cover.

I have been able to playtest a good number of times now versus mechanized IG and based upon my experience my toughest matchup is still versus Grey Knights followed by Space Wolves then Imperial Guard. Remember what I said in the beginning—25 percent of the table should have terrain with some blocking LOS. I have become more of a defensive player now using this style in combination with an army that can be fully reserved. I may start with up to two units on the table but only if my opponent can't shoot them the first couple of turns... So I have some options how I start the beginning of the game which is very helpful. I have four scoring units which is enough for Capture & Control plus Seize Ground. I have some more shooting now in the form of Hive Guard which are very good at what they do best—popping lightly armored transports. The army has come a long way since the beginning and is headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bone Swords and Lash Whip Kits from GW

GW will be releasing a lot of new kit for Tyranids next month including custom kits for bone swords and lash whips... pretty cool in my opinion. All I can really say is about f*cking time !!

Here is the schedule of releases with pricing:

Hive Tyrant / Swarmlord
1 Mini
Mar 03
Tervigon / Tyrannofex
1 Mini
Mar 03
Boneswords Set
3 x BS pairs
Mar 03
Bonesword / Lash Whip Set
3 x BS & LW pairs
Mar 03
1 Mini
Mar 03
Old One Eye
1 Mini
Mar 03
1 Mini
Mar 03
Spore Mine Cluster
9 Minis
Mar 03
The Red Terror
1 Mini
Mar 03
Ripper Swarm Brood
1 Mini
Mar 03

Monday, February 20, 2012

Deployment & How The Modified Tyranid Army Functions

Here is the latest version of my 2k list:

Tyrant -
• Wings, bone sword + lash whip, twin linked devourer w. brainleech ammo, adrenal glands
• Hive Commander
• Paroxysm & Life Leech

Tyranid Prime -
• Bone sword + lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands, toxin sacs

9x Yrmgarl Genestealer

3x Zoanthrope -
• Mycetic spore

3x Hive Guard

15x Genestealer + Broodlord -
• Scything talons & toxin sacs

5x Genestealer

3x Warrior (Tyranid Prime is attached to this brood) -
• 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler, bone swords + lash whip, toxin sacs

15x termagant -
• Devourers
• Mycetic spore

Trygon Prime -
• Adrenal glands

Revised 2k Tyranid List

Here is my revised Tyranid list based upon lots of recent playtesting. Note that if I drop all the regeneration I have enough points for another brood of five genestealers and bring  my total number of scoring units back up to four (which is most likely what I will do). I am now down to only two mycetic spores. I have dropped the Hormogaunts from the list and the Alpha Warrior now runs with the Warriors - which I really like a lot... it makes those deathspitters a lot better and every little bit counts. I now have a full compliment of three Zoies and have added a brood of three Hive Guard. The Hive Guard are a welcome addition and primarily intended to pop transports and the much hated pysfleman dreadnaught. The army is still just as brutal in melee and is still uses null deployment. Gone are the special characters such as Doom and the Deathleaper... oh well they were a lot of fun but I think this list is more competitive.

2000 Points - Tyranids Roster

Hive Tyrant (300 pts)
·         Bone Sword + Lash Whip
·         TL Devourer w/Brainleech Worms
·         Hive Commander
·         Adrenal Glands
·         Regeneration
·         Wings

Tyranid Prime (115 pts)
·         Bone Sword + Lash Whip
·         Scything Talons
·         Adrenal Glands
·         Regeneration

Tyranid Warrior Brood (170 pts)
1.       2x Tyranid Warrior
Bone Sword + Lash Whip. Deathspitter, Toxin Sacs
2.       1x Tyranid Warrior
Barbed Strangler, Bone sword + Lash Whip, Toxin Sacs

Genestealer Brood (350 pts)
15x Genestealer Brood
-          Scything Talons, Toxin Sacs
·         Broodlord - Scything Talons, Toxin Sacs

Termagant Brood (190 pts)
15x Termagant Brood - devourers
·         Mycetic Spore

Heavy Support
Trygon Prime (275 pts)
·         Adrenal Glands
·         Regeneration

Hive Guard Brood (150 pts)
3x Hive Guard

Zoanthrope Brood (220 pts)
3x Zoanthrope
·         Mycetic Spore

Ymgarl Genestealer Brood (230 pts)
10x Ymgarl Genestealer

Note that a lot of these modifications are based upon advice I received from Hyv3mynd - I didn't incorporate all of his suggestions but definitely the majority of them. I have using the Deathleaper a lot lately and it's an awesome unit for what it brings to the table but I think the Hive Guard are the better choice - especially versus the prevalance of heavily mechanized armies we see so often now.

Tyranids vs. Imperial Guard

Okay so here are some of my thoughts on playing Tyranids competively versus Imperial Guard. Here are two very basic assumptions:

—The table has 25 percent terrain with some blocking LOS
—You strategically place your objectives

To me those two are the most important aspects to playing competively versus IG. They will rain down unholy Hell upon you all game long during their shooting phases... That is their main strength... It's like a chess game with a running clock. They will beat you at shooting and there is no way to get around that versus all their many many mighty guns.

In many ways a well designed Tyranid army is better at weathering their storm than Space Marines. Your strengths is in numbers and synapse. As long as you have enough synapse and good cover combined with large numbers you can win the war. In objective based games they will shoot the Hell out of you then move in the closing turns to claim and contest objectives. What shooting you do have should target their forward most transports to impede their movement. Imperial Guard does not want to cover open ground on foot... They want to remain within the relative safety of their armored transports. So focus on popping their forward most transports first to force them to foot slog towards the objective markers as this is one of their main danger zones.

In killpoint missions you can win as IG is an army that can give up many. It is what it is. More thoughts soon !!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Security versus Freedom from a Gaming Perspective

This is not a rant about things like cyber security... Instead it is an editorial on two types of competitive gaming attitudes and my simple opinions based upon over 20 years of tabletop gaming. Let's start off with some definitions so you'll know where I'm coming from and also how these two perspectives are interrelated. Interrelations are like the Yin and the Yang - if you go deep enough into one side eventually you'll emerge on the other side. It is what is.

Security - you need a big blanket to make you feel safe. I've been there many times such as my Draigowing. You've got all the best buffs and you can easily push the envelope. This style of play can heavily encroach upon your opponent - often you see people complaining about the top tier armies... Maybe they feel a bit helpless and need to vent their frustration. While these types of opinions are totally valid but as a competitor it won't make you a better gamer.

Freedom - I think it is better to approach this style of play after having been heavily invested in security. This way you'll know what you are up against so you can quickly form the decisions you need to make to exploit the other end of the spectrum. This style of play has not much security at all so you have to play very well versus equal opponents that have embraced security. You have more flexibility and must take advantage of this aspect. It is dangerous ground but then again it can be very powerful as well.

For a freedom player to beat a security player at some point in the game the freedom player needs to cripple the security player—it does not have to occur in the beginning of the game which is very hard to pull off versus a well seasoned veteran. If the security player can weather the storm they will end up winning most of the time simply due to all of the inherent advantages they have incorporated into their army that naturally debuffs the advantages built into the freedom player's army. The freedom player must play a perfect game and may need some luck as well to win... It is the nature of the beast.

If you decide to embrace the aspects of a freedom player then you'll need to get used to listening to other telling you why you can't win versus a security player... They just don't understand and often these types were unsuccessful in their attempt to follow the path of freedom. There is nothing wrong with following the path of a security player—don't fall into the trap of knocking them if you are a freedom player. There are always at least two sides of a coin - we can't have one without the other. The path of a freedom player can be more rewarding as it is more challenging.

Often you hear people talking about rock armies or they talk a lot about the current meta. While its very important to understand these aspects of the game it is not the end all be all either. The goal is to transcend this mindset and reach a higher plateau. The high ground is there but not easy to reach but with determination and the ability to learn over time you can reach this state of mind. You must be totally committed and willing to suffer some pain. In the end if you are true to your path you will reach your destination and this will eventually open up other doors of perception... You will have become enlightened and once there no one can ever take this away from you no matter how hard they try.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Joshua Dearth FTW !!!

Joshua had this to say over on BoLS commenting on my latest Nidz article:

I actually just started a nid army less than a month ago for the sole purpose of taking to a half dozen GT's over the next few months and have had fairly good success in the tournaments I've played thus far.  

I would like to consider myself a rather experienced tournament player and chose Tyranids because of the challenge.  (I just got done running a Tau army over the past couple of years in various tournaments and placed quite well so I have developed a taste for using under valued armies)

I personally would agree with Big Black Fiend's comment that the people I have had the most success against have been those who have dismissed the army as a non threat before they even play against it.  

I guess the real test will be this weekend though, as I am taking it to the Broadside Bash in LA.  

I have always been of the mindset that any army can be a competitive tournament army if built and played right.  

I have been following these Nid articles for some time and I find the endless negative comments to be rather entertaining as this only fortifies why I started this army in the first place.

More Progress on Necron Army...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sparring Partners

Hey all BBF here again with a short new article. I'd like to discuss the role of a sparring partner for playtesting your 40k armies and improving your overall game. I like to test new armies I design versus the top tier armies to see how they perform, figure out to better tweak them and discover game winning tactics and combinations. I think it's important as a competitive player to test your armies versus the best builds which can include mirror matches. In my opinion you need to play these games versus a good friend who is a good player as well—their skill level should be in the same neighborhood as your own. Depending on the army you are testing it can be a disheartening experience in the beginning but if you stick with it over time you can develop a solid army, which of course is the payoff. It's important that your sparring partner doesn't tailor their list specifically to beat yours as you won't gain much valuable experience and it won't be a fun time. You want to play games versus the current meta armies you will most commonly face at a big event. I think it's also important to play some games versus off the wall lists that challenge you—forcing you to think outside the box and these types of games can often be both the toughest and most rewarding when you win.

Back when I first started to develop my Blood Angels Descent of Angels (DoA) army I almost exclusively playtested versus Imperial Guard (leaf blower) and Space Wolves (Wolfstar). I quickly learned how to beat IG but it took probably a couple months to figure out how to consistently beat Wolfstar. It was very frustrating and at first it seemed like there was no answer but eventually I finally figured out how to beat them as well. These games also provided the opportunity to learn game winning tactics versus all of the most common armies. I ended up in the top 15 percent at WarGamesCon a couple of years ago with my DoA army and finished on one of the two top tables at GenghisCon last year as well... So definitely all the playtesting paid off.

Something quite interesting to me is the mirror match - I beat three other Blood Angels army at WarGamesCon with my DoA list - two of my opponents had heavily mechanized lists while the other was another DoA army. Currently I'm playing Tyranids so I'm not foreseeing many mirror matches this year in the independent tourney circuit but if I was playing Grey Knights that would be a big concern and one I think players tend to often overlook. I'm sure there will be lots and lots of Grey Knights playing during at least the first half of the year. Grey Knight versus Grey Knight is just brutal because of the psykout grenades so if you're planning to bring them out this year you had best be well prepared. I did have one game at a local tournament a few weeks ago versus another reserved Tyranid army and it was one of my two losses so far... I was not adequately mentally prepared, it caught me off guard and I made some silly mistakes that cost me the game.

Now back to the main topic - over time your sparring partner will become intimately familiar with your army and tactics so it may become very hard to win - this is actually what you really want as it will force you to take your army to the next level if you're fully committed. Don't get frustrated, don't curse Mat Ward or Robin Cruddance... Keep playing and keep thinking how to WIN !! Eventually it's possible these test matches will become harder to win than what you might expect to face during the first rounds at a big event and that is what will help you to best prepare to reach a top table.

If your sparring partner is a traveling tournament player as well then make sure to provide them with ample opportunities for these types of test matches as well... In the end it can be a win-win situation. Interestingly enough this is how some great gaming clubs started. Constantly clubbing n00bs is not going to make you a better gamer and you'll end up probably making some great friends if you look to play others with similiar interests and goals.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Basing the Canoptek Wraith

Hi everyone !!

I am going to use the Tomb King Sepulchral Stalkers to represent my Canoptek Wraiths.

This model is HUGE and has a very long tail - it would work best with a dreadnaught sized base as opposed to the terminator sized base. I am wondering if I were to use the dreadnaught size base will the TFGs claim it is for in game advantage.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rematch - Tyranids vs. Grey Knights

Before I left to come back home this week I had time for one last game versus my friend and he wanted a rematch with his Crowe army versus my Tyranids. We used the exact same lists as in the first batrep. We also decided to use the BeakyCon mission again. We rolled for deployment and got Spearhead with three objective markers for Seize Ground. I won the roll for choosing sides and opted to go second again. The table was setup the same—plenty of terrain.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tyranids vs. Grey Knights - 2k batrep

I was on travel this week and had some spare time yesterday afternoon. I met up with a friend for a 2000 point game - my reserved Tyranids versus his Crowe-Purifier army.

Here are our army lists:


— Hive Tyrant: wings, twin linked devourers w. brainleech ammo, bone sword + lash whip, adrenal glands, Hive Commander; paroxysm & life leech
— Tyranid Prime: bone sword + lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands, regeneration

— 9x Yrmgal genestealers
— 2x Zoanthrope - mycetic spore
— Doom of Malan'tai - mycetic spore

— 3x Warrior - 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler, bone swords + lash whips, toxin sacs - mycetic spore
— 10x Hormagaunt - adrenal glands & toxin sacs
— 15x termagant - devourers - mycetic spore
— 14x genestealer & Broodlord - scything talons & toxin sacs

Heavy Support
— Trygon Prime - adrenal glands


— Crowe

— Psyfleman Vendread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
— Psyfleman Vendread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo

— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x MC-Hammer, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x MC-Hammer, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x MC-Hammer, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x Warding Stave, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x Warding Stave, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Strike Squad - 1x Psycannon, Rhino

Heavy Support
— Psyfleman Dread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
— Psyfleman Dread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo

Necron army progresses...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

WarGamesCon Announcement

WargamesCon is back for its 4th year, bigger and better than ever! All new massive venue -  June 21st-24th at the Austin Renaissance. Have you registered?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Running a Tyranid Prime Accompanied with Hormagaunts

Hi all !!

In keeping with my series of Tyranid tactical articles I would like to discuss one of my key units... This is the combination of the Alpha Warrior attached to a small brood of 10 Hormagaunts. Here is how I run them:

— Tyranid Prime: bone sword+lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands, regeneration

— 10x Hormagaunt: adrenal glands & toxin sacs

Often this combined unit is challenged by other Tyranid players so I thought this would be as good time as any to discuss its merits. Typically the challenge statement is as follows:

You are losing many of the advantages inherent to the Hormagaunts - that is they cannot fleet nor utilize Bounding Leap.

So let's keep that in mind as I cover why this unit has worked well for me:

— Combined the two units are completely synergistic—both alone are less than equal to their sum. The gants provide 10 ablative wounds for their leader and the Alpha Warrior is a synaptic creature... Therefore the Hormagaunts don't have to test for instinctive behavior and are fearless.

— The two main purposes of this unit is to hold an objective in my deployment zone (since they will typically come on from reserve along my long table edge) and to provide synaspe for other broken Tyranid units that are falling back and can't regroup because they are below half their starting size.

— This is also actually a decent melee unit for a relatively cheap scoring unit taking into consideration the cost of both the Alpha Warrior and the brood. On the charge they are all I6 and the brood wounds on 4+ due to the toxin sacs and reroll to wound versus T4 or less due to the adrenal glands. The Tyranid Prime drops an enemy model to I1 in base contact (lash whip), rerolls 1s to hit (scything talons) and is S6 on the charge ignoring armor saves (bone sword). Also any enemy model that suffers an unsaved wound from the Alpha Warrior must pass a leadership test or suffer Instant Death. In a recent game versus Space Wolves this unit came in from reserve behind a squad of Wolf Scouts (operating behind enemy lines) with an attached Wolfguard leader and wiped them all out on on the charge before they could even swing back. They have also decimated remnant enemy units such as Thunderwolves that were foolish enough to venture into my back line.

– The combined unit is often free to move about uncontested because my opponent is too busy dealing with my other units up in front of them. Sometimes they can form a conga line and hold multiple objectives. If there are multiple objectives such as both Capture & Control plus Seize Ground I make sure to place the C&C objective marker and one SG objective marker close together in my deployment zone so they can hold both.

— It's a fallacy to say that the brood is entirely denied the use of fleet and Bounding Leap. If necessary I can split off the gants from the Alpha Warrior so they can go contest an objective or engage an enemy unit in melee. Rarely do I need to though due to careful placement of the objective markers but it's always there as an option if need be.

So this both addresses the common challenge to the combined unit and describes their strategic use in detail. They often end up being a key unit for the win. If I were to change anything I might consider dropping the gants and attaching the Prime to my Warriors thereby eliminating the need for another mycetic spore (eliminating another easy killpoint) and they would operate together just the same. This would free up the points for another brood of genestealers and I would end up with the same number of scoring units overall.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A How To Guide Playing Reserved Tyranids

Hi everyone !!

Instead of watching the Superbowl this evening I figured I'd write another tactical article about how to build and play a reserved Tyranid army list. There is no one right way to play the army but there are choices that can go a long way towards a good build. I have chosen to bring my army to the ATC this year for several reasons. One big reason is that the ATC is both a fun and competitive event that draws a lot of top players from around the country. Another reason is that I am very familiar with the mission format and used theirs as the basis for mine at BeakyCon - this features all three objectives from the rulebook (Killpoints, Capture and Control plus Seize Ground) and they are all equivalent - that is you either win or lose, there is no primary, secondary or tertiary. This type of format does not give an advantage to any type of army. I have only heard good things about ATC and look forward to playing there in Tennessee this summer.

I have learned how to do well in regards to each of the three objectives from the rulebook including killpoints. Killpoints used to be my Achilles' Heel but by dropping one mycetic spore it is now an objective I can win whereas before it seemed to be a foregone conclusion I could never win that one. I have developed some new tactics that are powerful versus mechanized lists. If you think about it most mechanized lists present a plethora of easy killpoints you can score if your army is adapted to take advantage. For example just recently I learned that you decide where to place your Ymrgal genestealers in reserve after both armies have been deployed. I have also started to infiltrate my genestealer brood at times instead of always outflanking them—I will now infiltrate depending upon terrain and how my opponent has deployed. Genestealers can serve the role as a vanguard and sow disruption providing a distraction for other your other units arriving from reserve. As such it's possible to assault with two units during the second turn using the genestealer brood and Yrmgal genestealers. They are both a big threat and cannot be ignored by the opponent. While genestealers excel in melee versus other infantry units they are also able to shred armor due to their high number of attacks coupled with rending. In my opinion this is exactly how genestealers were designed to perform.

My 1850 point List
Here is my most current army list:

Hive Tyrant *: wings, twin linked devourers w. brainleech ammo, bone sword+lash whip, adrenal glands, Hive Commander, Parosym & Life Leech

Tyranid Prime *: bone sword+lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands, regeneration

10x Yrmgal genestealer
2x Zoanthrope * - mycetic spore

15x genestealer incl. Broodlord: scything talons & toxin sacs
3x Warrior *: 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler, bone swords & lash whips, toxin sacs - mycetic spore
15x termagant: devourers - mycetic spore
10x hormagaunt: adrenal glands, toxin sacs

-Heavy Support-
Trygon Prime * - adrenal glands

* These units have Synaspe and Shadows in the Warp.

Like I said above there is no one right list how to play reserved Tyranids and I have solicited advice from those whom I consider to be top Tyranid players. This is my core list and what works the best for me. It is here as a reference for you.

Here are some Tyranid units that should be avoided when building your own reserved army list:


These are all monstrous creatures that are slow and costly plus they have a low initiative. As such they are a liability versus the Space Wolf psychic power Jaws of the World Wolf. You are paying a lot of points for your monstrous creatures and to win you they must perform well on a consistent basis. The last thing you want is for a Space Wolf player to nuke your big nasty at range with a cheap psychic power to which you have no real defense. Tyranid monstrous creatures should be on your front line actively engaged versus the enemy. I only run a Hive Tyrant and a Trygon Prime. My Tyrant is naturally immune to JAWS due to its wings and the Trygon Prime will only fail on a roll of 6 versus JAWS due to being a monstrous creature and I4. The three I have listed above work much better in a horde list plus the Carnifex requires the use of a mycetic spore to integrate with a reserved list which gives up another easy killpoint. The Carnifex and Tryannofex are both overcosted as well. Two of the three listed units do not have Synapse or Shadows in the Warp - as such they could potentially be a liability at the worst possible moment and again they don't integrate well into a reserved list.

Now that I have provided a sample army list and noted a few units to avoid I'll breakdown the main strengths of the army.

Null Deployment
The first and most powerful strength of this style of play is the use of Null Deployment. By taking a Tyrant with the Hive Commander option all of your reserves will arrive with +1, as such the bulk of your army will arrive on turn 2 and you can saturate the battlefield with more units than your opponent can handle. You should opt to go second if possible since this will deny your opponent two turns of shooting at your army. Your genestealer broods act as a vanguard to neutralize enemy units thus buying another turn for your other units to get stuck in. jy2 has dubbed this strategy the Maximum Threat Overdrive (MTO) and has posted many batreps featuring his Necron armies over on Dakka Dakka that take advantage of this tactic.

Many of my detractors have claimed that my army is devoid of any real threat when it comes to shooting. Let's take a closer look at my core army list again and see what I actually have in the way of shooting and how potent it really is.

• Termagants - 45 S4 shots at 18" range arriving in a spore. This unit will decimate a squad of Long Fangs irregardless of cover. A wise opponent playing a mech list will keep all their infantry embarked in their transports versus this unit which is a serious detriment to Razorfang lists. The unit is relatively cheap for what they provide and can also hold objectives if need be and in the right situation.

• Zoanthropes - This is your primary deterrent versus AV14. Sure it is tough to get a warp lance shot past the Grey Knight psychic defense but in my mind it's still your best shot. The mycetic spore means that you should be able to place your Zoies with a clear unobstructed shot that denies cover saves. I'd love to run a brood of three as opposed to two but the points are very tight. Versus Space Wolves I often use my Zoies to pop the enemy transport carrying the Rune Priest early in the game to negate their rune staff which can be huge since I have an army with a high concentration of psychic units. The Zoies can also soak Space Marine units with their S5 AP3 small blast shooting attack and is more reliable since you don't have to roll to hit.

• Hive Tyrant - 6 twin linked BS3 S6 shots at 18" range on a flying platform. The Hive Tyrant equipped as such is very versatile. This shooting attack is excellent versus light armor such as razorbacks and I regard it as one of my more effective methods of dealing with mech at range.

• Trygon Prime - 12 BS3 S5 shots at 18" range. While its not a tank killer it is fairly reliable at glancing light armor. It is one more gun in your arsenal and should not be ignored. You are paying for the upgrade to a Prime and this is one of the main benefits.

• Warriors - Warriors are best at shooting infantry. The barbed strangler provides a S4 large blast with 36" range which adds some versatility.

• Mycetic Spores - 6 shots at 6" range that are BS2 S6 AP-. Sure it's not reliable but the high strength can glance or penetrate light transports such as rhinos and chimeras. If you can stun a transport that is potentially one turn you can ignore its contents.

Note that the barbed strangler is pinning weapon while the devourer causes the enemy to suffer -1 Ld when taking a morale check from wounds suffered in the shooting phase.

Synapse and Shadows in the Warp (SitW)
You will have probably noticed I have a high percentage of units with Synapse and SitW. I selected these units primarily based upon other merits such as melee and shooting but on the other hand generally speaking it is not a disadvantage plus your army benefits from being fearless. I don't run a horde list so I don't have to worry much about suffering lots of wounds in melee due to No Retreat armor saves. This is your major psychic defense versus Grey Knights or any army with psykers and my army spreads it all around quite liberally - it can and does win games. I never have to worry about Weaken Resolve which is another useful benefit. Paroxysm (Tyrant) is a very powerful psychic power along with Aura of Despair and Hypnotic Gaze (Broodlord)... All three of these buff your assault phases which has always been a big strength for Tyranids.

Deployment and Mobility
Reserved armies have an inherent strength when it comes to deployment and this is another huge advantage for this style of play... Basically you can ignore all the penalties imposed upon more conventional armies due to deployment. As I said above the vast majority of your army will arrive during the second turn and you can saturate the battlefield to gain advantage from the MTO strategy. Mycetic spores and Trygons deploy like drop pods so they are much less affected by the random chance of a mishap. Yrmgals can move and assault the turn they arrive from reserve. In my mind there are lots of advantages to this style of play. Gaunts, genestealers and Trygons can fleet... If need be all of these units can catch up to vehicles that can only move 12" or less with a good roll for run assuming the vehicle is no more than 18" away at the start of your turn. Obviously the winged Tyrant is fast as well. By combining this mobility with other aspects of your army you can quickly and effectively cover a lot of ground in a single turn. I have had games where my genestealer brood started 24" or more away from an enemy unit at turn four and was able to launch a game winning assault by the last turn... They are not perceived as a threat until its too late.

I played Dark Eldar before I decided to approach Tyranids. One major weakness of dark eldar is an army can die in droves during a single turn if you are careless or just plain unlucky-they are the ultimate glass hammer. I did not know what to expect when I decided to first start playing Tyranids but I have found they are much more resilient and thus much more forgiving. You can lose a couple units due to mistakes or bad luck and still have a good chance to win. This aspect (maybe more than anything else) makes for playing Tyranids more enjoyable for me. I think I have a good ratio of T3-T4-T6 units and a good mix will help to offset any one unit drawing focused fire.

This article was an overview how and why I play my army. I have addressed challenges to its effectiveness as a competitive army.