23 Jun 20

Faction Focus: Tyranids

Tyanids are everyone’s favourite extragalactic bio-horrors, but how will they adapt to the new edition of Warhammer 40,000? Probably quite well (adaptation is kinda their thing), but just to be on the safe side, we asked renowned Tyranids expert Danny ‘the Swarmlord’ Ruiz* to give us some pointers. But first, let’s introduce the faction to those who may be unfamiliar…

Who Are They?

The Tyranids are an utterly alien race of creatures whose will is collectively controlled by a mass consciousness called the Hive Mind. Such is its oppressive presence that psykers struggle to manifest their powers when facing a Tyranid invasion, finding their connection to the warp all but smothered by the intangible shadow of the Hive Mind.

When a hive fleet descends upon a prey world, the planet’s inhabitants are overwhelmed by wave after wave of expendable bio-constructs. Each Tyranid creature is custom grown to perform a particular part in the attack, from the largest siege beast capable of tearing open the thickest fortress gates to the living, insectile ammunition spat forth by their myriad organic weapons. Once a planet falls to the Tyranids, it is stripped bare, its biomass consumed wholesale by the hive fleet to be repurposed into new warriors so this grim cycle can be repeated on the next world.

How They Play in the New Edition

For the technical stuff, we’ll pass you over to the mouthpiece of the hive mind, Danny Ruiz. 

As an official Las Vegas Open judge and Frontline Gaming’s Tyranids guru, it’s fair to say he knows more about the Hive Fleets than Cassius and Tigurius combined!

Danny: Hello everyone! I’m truly privileged to chat about what’s fresh and exciting for the Tyranid Hive Mind in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 – I love big bugs, and I cannot lie!

First up, Tyranid Monsters get a huge boost in their viability. With the ability to shoot into combat and more terrain rules to help keep them alive (and a generous vertical Engagement Range), you’ll want to bring the big hitters. If you’re worried about your beloved behemoths getting blasted before they get to do their best, you can spend Command points to put them into Strategic Reserve** and have them show up where and when you need them. Want to save those Command points for tasty surprises? Well, the Tyrannocyte is always an option and, hey, it is a Monster too, so it can fire all those deathspitters into combat as well!

If you’re looking to protect your advancing line of gribblies, a Maleceptor is a handy option – its Encephalic Diffusion Stratagem is especially handy on the first turn to take the edge off enemy artillery and heavy weapons as you advance.

Another sneaky trick – and a favoured tactic of Genestealers across the galaxy – is to make use of the new Dense Cover rules*** to close on the enemy line. Any means of limiting the enemy’s firepower until you can get into slicing and dicing range is an opportunity you should grab with both sets of claws!

As much as I can’t wait for the opportunity to field an effective army filled with Tyranid Monsters, always remember to think carefully about your army composition. If your hive fleet sends out mostly Monsters, you may end up having trouble completing some missions, so don’t overcommit early and lose out on the objective game.

I hope to see you on the tabletop soon. You can always drop me a line at TFG Radio, check out my weekly articles at Frontline Gaming, or come chat while I do my rounds at LVO. Enjoy the new edition, fellow synapse creatures!

Key Units

Danny’s also been putting some thought (or maybe he’s had thoughts placed into his brain by the Hive Mind – he won’t tell), about which units will likely stand out from the hordes in the new edition. They’re not all Monsters, either!

Old One Eye and Carnifexes

Danny: I’m personally quite excited to field Old One Eye flanked by a few Carnifexes with two sets of twin devourers and monstrous acid maws (a little twist on the tried and true Dakka-fex).**** You get a high volume of shooting that can take down infantry with ease and is backed up by scary melee power (usually hitting on 3+ thanks to Old One Eye’s Alpha Leader ability) that will take big bites out of any armoured targets. This makes for a mean one-two punch and a solid force to push onto an enemy-held position.


Danny: Some called me mad when I showed up with 3 Tyrannofexes with acid spray, but no longer! They put down a lot of heat, can take a punch (or five), and who needs to worry about degrading profiles or penalties to shooting into combat when you have a weapon that hits automatically? And if you remain stationary, you get double the fun! Tyrannofexes make a great wall of chitin to push forward early and dominate the centre.

Tyranid Warriors

Danny: To help stock up on armour, don’t forget about the humble Tyranid Warrior. With multiple wounds as well as the Adaptive Physiology rules and their bespoke Stratagem from Blood of Baal, they’re quite hardy. They also have the all-important Infantry keyword, making them excellent at helping out with controlling objectives. Being Objective Secured***** and Synapse is just icing on the biomass.

Thanks, Danny! How are you planning to harvest biomass from your enemies on the battlefield? Let us know on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page, Instagram and on Twitter using #New40K.

* We may have just invented that nickname for him.
** We’ll have more on Strategic Reserves tomorrow, so be sure to join us on warhammer-community.com to learn more!
***These apply to things like forests and dense industrial ruins, where protection comes more from difficulty in picking out a target, rather than the shots physically being blocked.
**** Amongst Tyranids enthusiasts, a ‘Dakka-fex’ is a Carnifex equipped with two sets of monstrous bio-cannons – traditionally two pairs of devourers with brainleech worms – instead of monstrous scything talons. That’s 24 Strength-6 shots, for those keeping count!
***** This is the catch-all term for abilities like Extensions of the Hive Mind.