Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My thoughts on Tyranids: part V – Drop ‘Nids & How to Counter Them

In my opinion the biggest change in the new Tyranid codex is the Mycetic spore. The Tyranids can now take an army that is all Deep Striking, and importantly all accurate Deep Striking. Couple this with their potential +2 reserves bonus, and on paper the list is very powerful. It reminds me of the old SM drop pod armies. I have played I think 7 games against dropping ‘Nids and I lost the first, but since then I have beaten them every time.

Anyway, your typical Ninja ‘Nids army looks like this:

- Flyrant w/ Hive Commander, dual TL Devourers with Brainleech ammo, whatever else
- 2 Zoanthrope squads in Mycetic Spores (I prefer 3-strong squads, some prefer 2)
- Lictor or Deathleaper
- Troops varies from list to list
- 3 Trygons

If I ran Drop Nids, my army would have 3x3 Spore Mines. They are very helpful for dictating your opponent’s deployment.

Playing against this army is very similar to playing against all Drop Pod armies, except the ‘Nids are better. It’s important to realize when you’re looking at a drop Nid list as opposed to a regular footslogging list. Usually it’s obvious: Does it have +2 to reserves and all units (sometimes not Troops) are capable of deepstriking or outflanking? Then they’re probably going to be dropping.

If you get the choice, always take second turn. This gives your opponent a difficult choice: do they Deep Strike everything anyway, or do they deploy? Usually, the right choice for them is to DS. If they deploy, you are now pretty much playing against a weakened regular Tyranid army.

MCs and Zoanthropes
If they Deep Strike, castle up and use smart target priority when they drop. If you’re a shooting army, you should have a bubble wrap unit or two spread out in front of your army, so the Hive Tyrant and Trygons have something to kill before they hit your gooey stuff. If you are a CC army, the MCs shouldn’t be a big problem. Remember, Zoanthropes will rape your vehicles, so you need to take them out or at least tie them up.

Lictors and Mycetic Spores
Mycetic Spores are generally placed on top of objectives to contest them. They are pretty easy to kill, but they can be an annoying distraction with their shooting. One thing to consider about Lictors & Deathleaper is that they are mounted on 40mm bases, so if you want to keep them away from your squishy guys you must leave absolutely no gaps in your castle.

How have you guys fared against Drop Tyranids, and what tactics have you used to beat them?


  1. Yep, that'll work.

    Against most DS armies, holding a couple units in reserve is a solid plan, especially if they have a good range and alpha strike capability. Something like a Plasma Vet squad, Dire Avengers, Sternguard, MM/HF speeder and the like. When it works, they show up exactly where you need them and do a precision strike.

    With +1 or +2 to reserves, you can pretty much guarantee the bugs will be in on turn 2. That presents a problem that you don't have with SM Pods, your reserves may not always work.

  2. I wouldn't take Trygons in a all drop pod list. Sure they can deep strike; however I'd rather take Zoanthropes for tank busting and then devilgaunts for fire power - 20 Gants coming out of a pod with 3 shots each is nasty!

  3. I think this is the most powerful build for Nidz. I run a hybrid list with lots and lots of genestealers. If only Cruddace had given a little bit more love like he did for guard. I am kind of thinking the Internet is a really place. Consider this... If Blood Angels can consistently beat down mech IG then the world will be a better place for Tyranids.