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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Strategy: Tyranids

Hi all,

Well, first things first, the next phase of Hop Idol 2 is in the offing, and I'm still there- go and take a look to see what's going on. However, please be warned that it is a PG13 site- violence, swearing and tentacles are all fairly common.

Now that's out of the way- on to the Tyranids. I've played around 25 games with my favourite Xenos now, and I've found out a few go-to tactics for 6th Ed 40K. In no particular order:

Swarm Them!

Yes, the good old days of Gaunt hordes are back. The main plan for any of my Nid builds now is to pin the enemy in place as quickly as possible, by getting into combat with them with big, sustainable broods. note that the role of these units is now to kill the enemy (although through sheer volume of dice, a few will fall casualty), but rather to allow your army to advance. As a result:

  • I regularly multi-charge the enemy, especially Tactical or Devastator Marines. The loss of 1 Attack on the charge and incumbent bonuses is more than offset by the fact that they aren't shooting my bigger Nids.
  • Units that charge into existing combats get their full Initiative value, rather than I1 for charging through cover.
  • Thanks to the Initiative pile-in, you can force the opponent to open up their lines a little to give your other beasties more freedom. 
3 units of 20 Termagants is fairly standard for me now. At 100 points each, they are cheap units which can hold up the enemy indefinitely. More importantly, 60 bodies covers 60" of the table- that's 5' out of 6'. Get in quick, and the enemy doesn't have many options. 

Attack in Waves!

Given the Swarm! plan, this is fairly obvious. it's the execution that's important- most of the killer units in the Nid list are faster than Gaunts, and I've had to get in the habit of holding them back. In fact, I've started reserving them- Raveners held back in reserve can't be shot unless they Deep Strike poorly. I'm not putting them in the thick of the enemy, but holding them back to arrive turn 2 or 3 behind the Gaunts, reducing the amount of time that the enemy can focus on them. 

As I talked about in last weeks Strategy post, target saturation is a decent ploy for some armies. this is especially true for Nids. By using Swarm and Waves, you start to force the enemy into a situation where there are too many decisions for them to make. The Gaunts are key to the plan, but not many armies can deal with them quickly enough to counter the threat (Shuriken Catapults and Flamers are the main problems.)  This means that they are pinned for the second wave of the really hurty bugs to get into place. So which do they shoot? By Hitting the bigger Nids, they aren't dealing with the Gaunts. By shooting the Gaunts, they aren't dealing with the units which actually kill them It's Win-Win. 


There are a few Tyranid units which terrify opponents- Genestealers are a prime example. These units are perfect for baiting- the opponent will want to deal with them quickly, and so will be focussing resources away from the rest of the horde. I'm now including 1 unit of 10 Stealers with a Broodlord- it's not too expensive, and by Infiltrating and Going To Ground, it can really soak up fire power. Plus, it's still a threat on the battlefield, thanks to the psychic power of the Broodlord. 

That's the main points I've learned so far. I've not touched on dealing with specific threats, because so far the plan is working against all comers at 1500pts, 1750pts and 2000pts. I tried mucking about with Synapse to get Rage checks, but to be honest it's much of a muchness- it's an unreliable tactic to get a small boost. I'm more focused on picking a unit and murdering it before moving on to the next one. Oh- and thanks to teh Gaunts, by throwing in a couple of Tervigons, Vehicles aren't really a problem (AV10 can be eliminated by 40 Attacks from charging Gaunts with Furious Charge, AV14 can be eliminated by Monstrous Creatures.)

So to recap-
  • Tie the enemy up with Gaunts
  • Kill the enemy with Monstrous Creatures and Raveners next turn
  • Use reserves to keep key units (Raveners, Trygons) from getting shot for a turn, and Deep Strike them in a position to assault next turn.
  • Keep upgrades to a minimum- anything that ensures a swifter kill is good, anything that soaks up points is bad. It's all about numbers.
  • Control your movement so that key units don't get too far ahead of the tarpit (group your force into waves, and keep them together)
  • Use Synapse to make units Fearless, so that the Tarpits work- don't worry about Rage and other supposed Perks- distractions are bad!
That's it for now. No lists- use the information to tinker your own collections, and see what happens. 

I'm switching sides for a few months now, and testing out Space Marines more thoroughly. 

Comments, as always, are welcome.


  1. I've been wondering if Subterannean Assault may actually get used in 6th, and for the exact pinning+reserve strategy you talk about. Nice post!

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