Monday, March 22, 2010

My Thoughts on the Tyranids: part IV – Anti-tank Shooting

I'm going to condense the rest of my Tyranid analysis so that I will have more time to write tournament reports, opinions on other codices (especially Blood Angels) and some other tactics that I have made use of but have not seen a lot of on the interwebz. I also want to post pictures of my models and a current conversion I'm working on, turning a LRC into a battlewagon.

Hive Guard and Zoanthropes
There are 3 units in the Tyranid codex capable of reliably killing vehicles at range: Zoanthropes, Hive Guard and Tyrannofexes. Zoanthropes and Hive Guard are far more efficient than the T-fex. The problem is that they are both in the Elite slot. A mycetic spore is pretty much manditory for Zoanthropes. As far as I'm concerned, you must have either Zoanthropes or Hive Guard to have a competitive Tyranid list. Which one to choose is usually pretty simple. In a drop/ninja Nids army, take Zoies. In a foot army, take Hive Guard. There are of course exceptions to this and I will go into them in a later post but for the most part this is a good rule of thumb.

One big advantage of Hive Guard over Zoies is that they are able to be in range of enemy vehicles on turn one. They are also more resilient with their T6, and they are better at killing lightly armored vehicles like rhinos. Zoanthropes are more versatile because they can kill infantry with Warp Blast. They can also kill AV-13/14 with ease, unlike Hive guard. It will be interesting to see which choice triumphs in the long run. As of right now though I think the better choice depends on the rest of the 'Nid list.

Tyrannofexes are a totally different beast. The only real reason to take them is for the Rupture Cannon, so we'll ignore the other options for now. First of all, I believe the Tyrannofex is way overcosted. You are paying 265+ points for one STR10 hit per turn. That said, we must consider the T-fex in the context of it's codex, and it's the only non-Elite anti-tank shooting in the whole book. If you want to run a shooting-themed list, the Tyrannofex is a decent support choice, but I would recommend it only if you have maxed out on Hive Guard already.

I think the best loadout for the T-fex is Rupture Cannon, Cluster Spines and Electroshock Grubs. On the tabletop the Tyrannofex should advance along with the rest of your army, but keep a squad of gants in front of it so that it can't be charged. Most people don't bother to shoot at the T-fex because of its 2+ armor, so you can place it in front of your other MCs (especially tervigons) and give them cover. This should be relatively easy because most peoples' Tyrannofex models are huge. The secondary weapons can be useful for the T-fex if you have killed the enemy transports or if they never had any to begin with.


  1. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the new Blood Angels... Obviously my favorite army!


  2. Hey Steve, thanks for commenting. I need to get more people to read this garbage. How did you get people to read your blog when you first began?

  3. Whore it out to other, well known places, natch :P

    I don't think HG/Zoeys are mandatory, but they're very useful. Tyranid AT is not entirely about blowing stuff up as it is stopping/slowing it and using their speedy assault units to catch it, open it, and gorge on the juicy morsels inside.

    T-fexes are the bomb. 6 T6 wounds with a 2+ save is impossible to dislodge from 48", the range of its main gun. That alone makes it worthwhile. If you want it dead, you have to get close, and it loves you getting close with the blast and flamer on top of its main gun (Onslaught from a Tervigon gives it a little extra surprise).

    Raptor put up a nice rundown of the T-fex on his Spite for the Dice Gods (

  4. "Whore it out to other, well known places, natch :P"

    Well it worked!

  5. Nice blog! Your articles are making lots of sense so far.

    "...the best loadout for the T-fex is Rupture Cannon, Cluster Spines and Electroshock Grubs."

    I fully agree.

  6. Electroshock grubs ? Why would you take that over the poisoned one ?

  7. Indeed, the whole point behind the flamer template of the Thorax swarm is to cause wounds that can not be cover saved against.

    Sorry, but the S5 AP5 isn't the best choice as against most thing you'll not use the AP (except against orks)

    Though the Wounding on a 2+ even with an AP of - you will be doing far more damage.

    S5 will help vs most things, but the 2+ to wound against all non vehicles is far more useful.

    Nice post BTW, though Zoey's will be in range of tanks first turn with their effective 24" range. though it is not always a guarantee. but really, I'd rather have zoey's any day to face the 2x LR list with 10x TS termies inside of it.

  8. People like to discount the HVC for AT...hell, I used to. Let me tell you, though, if you have a bunch of them firing every turn, you have reliable ranged AT. The -1 on the damage chart hurts, but really, all you want to do is get the enemy out of their vehicles.

  9. That's true about the HVCs. I have one more post about the 'Nids and then it's on to Blood Angels.

    "Nice post BTW, though Zoey's will be in range of tanks first turn with their effective 24" range."

    No they won't. Not in any regular deployment type.

  10. Great read! I hope we can compare notes in the future!