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Evolution of the Bug – Tyranid Playtesting Part I

By Rob Baer | February 2nd, 2010 | Categories: Battle Reports, Tyranids, Warhammer 40k, Warhammer Army Lists

So I had a chance to playtest my nids over the last week, and overall I’m very happy with their performance.  I’ve learned a lot and I think these guys really can do some damage to all comers, including Imperial Guard Mech.

My first list variant went up against my Ork Mech Guard. You can checkout that army list here.

List 1 1850


  • Swarmlord
  • 2x Guard with lashes
  • 3x Zoeanthrope
  • 3x Hive Guard
  • 2x Carnifex w/ Brain Leech Worms
  • Tervigon
  • 10x Termagants
  • 10x Termagants
  • 10x Termagants
  • 20x Hormagaunts
  • 20x Hormagaunts

We just lined up 12″ in and went at it. The tanks were deployed from the left edge to midtable in a firing formation.  I just ran at him with the ‘fexes and Tervigon making a slight flank. It was a tough fight and after my synapse broke on turn 3 with not too many tanks popped, I reworked it some more.
 This was the Tyranids first try, they had to adapt.

What I learned:

  • Psychic Hoods shut down nids. They dont just shut them down they smack them in the face and say “NO”. Why? Well an average roll on a hood negates any psychic power. So no Lances from the Zoes, no buffs from the Broodlord, nada, nothing.  Now there is a counter to this, the Deathleaper, which gives one enemy model -d3 LD if hes alive. 
  • Carnifexes get 12 S6 Twin Linked Shots! However they are 190 points now, which may seem terribly steep but you have to remember 8 shots for 115 may have been under priced.  Anyways I like them because they give your opponent something else to shoot and you can hide stuff behind them.  Plus if protected by a Termagant speed bump, great staying power and counter assault especially when combined with preferred enemy from a nearby Tyrant/ Swarmlord.
  • Hive Guard rock. There really isn’t much bad to say about these guys, even thought their save is 4+.  Hide them behind a Tyrant squad, or 2 ‘fexes and they will serve you well.
  • Rolling doubles sucks when spawning Termagants with the Tervigon, cause you can’t spawn any more!  Lucky me I did it on my first try.  I mean its good for holding objectives but bad for it’s main purpose.
  • Swarmlords, and Tyrants for that matter, die unless they have 3 Tyrant Guard, the end period. When you add in that third guard it seems to make shooting at the squad a waste. You really have to try to burn down a 3 guarded HQ.  The best way I think to defeat it is to just give it table space and time.


My second game was against Brother Chaplain Ginn of Dakka Dakka fame.  He brought a janky foot Marine list that gave me a run for my money. In the end it would have probably been a draw- he could have very easily cut me down had he rolled better.

He lined up from his mid-table to his right edge, and I counted with my mid to my left edge. It was killpoints so I figured I’d stand off for a while and then smash his flank.  There was also one of those Chaos Ruined Temple terrain pieces in the middle of the board making life difficult for my movement.
We both danced around for a few turns countering each others thrusts, but in the end I got burnt down a little too quick in the beginning to make it a massacre.

List 2 1850

  • Hive Tyrant, Lashwhip Bonesword Paroxysm, Psychic Scream, Old Adversary; 3 Tyrant Guard
  • Tyranid Prime Lashwhip Bonesword, Deathspitter, Poison Sacs
  • Hive Guard x3
  • Deathleaper
  • Zoeanthrope x3
  • Tyranid Warrios x6 Deathspitters, Poison Sacs
  • Hormagaunts x15
  • Hormagaunts x15
  • Termagants x10
  • Termagants x10 
  • Mawloc
  • Genestealers x12

What I learned:

  • Mawloc- Whomever wrote his rules was either drunk or high at the time (or possible both). the wording makes no sense, however the meaning is there.  We played it RAW and he sucked, burned down in one turn.  Very sad, I had higher hopes for that fella.
  • Hive Tyrant FTW! This squad made it clear across the board and hit like a ton of bricks.  Making the enemy Initiative 1, BS1 WS1 and re-rolling your hits is quite possible the most broken thing in 40k right now.  I highly recommend it, please try it at home.
  • Warriors spit hot fire!  Wow these guys really came on strong.  They are relatively cheap and deal out 21 S5 shots at BS4 within 18″, plus they hold their own in combat? Throw them behind a Termagant speed/cover bump and they are an amazing asset. They basically can hold a quarter and say “mine”.
  • Genestealers while slightly nerfed still require a response from your enemy. Especially if you infiltrate them on a flank.
  • Deathleaper is a wussy. Better keep him hidden if you are trying to mess with you enemy commander’s head. He really only can hurt a small understrength squads. Better uses are to contest objectives, and provide disruption than for full on engagement.  Plus the fact he isn’t synapse gives me some doubts.
  • Swarmlords are expensive. OMG 280 points, I think ill keep him in the case for bigger games. I also prefer the Tyrant’s effect based Preferred Enemy than the lord’s targeting one.

Okay so that’s it for part one.  I’ve got two more great playtest games ready to go for the next post, one of them from the GT I went to over the weekend.

What do you think so far about my lists?

    About the Author: Rob Baer

    Virginia Restless, Miniature Painter & Cat Dad. I blame LEGOs. There was something about those little-colored blocks that started it all... Twitter @catdaddymbg
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