So, here we are, a full year after the release of my favorite army in pretty much any game system. The more I play with the 5th ed Dex the more it just feels like (to me) a failed book. I really want to stress when I say a “failed” book I don’t want you to think I mean you can’t win with it. You certainly can win but in doing so you have to pick a certain, very obvious, selection of units (new ones to this dex of course). With that in mind I think the major overall issue boils down to the a couple of things that bothers me the most and that is an overall lack of direction, a failed attempt on a set out design philosophy and a lack of logical choices made within in the dex (both for options and points).
I think Robin Cruddace (and crew) just didn’t stick to their apparent initial design philosophy that they set out with. What I mean by this is if you look back to 4th ed the Tyranids and the Demons of Chaos are incredibly similar armies. Both were fearless, both had eternal warrior and both filled basically the same niche. So, in my opinion, they removed most of the things that made demons demons from the nids list. Things like eternal warrior and invuln saves. So when you do that you make a living biomass army that isn’t individually as tough as demons due to the demons supernatural nature. The way nids should make up the difference of being worse on an individual model basis is by being cheaper and just having lots of numbers and useful specialized units. The other thing that the set out to do was remove the stat changing and complexity from the 4th ed book to make it more accessable. Tyranid players loved the stat changing aspect of the book, but people playing against Tyranid players just hated it because they never knew what they were going up against. This also goes for the weapons using the creature’s strength as the base for the weapons strength.
When I stop and think about those changes I 100% think that it was the right direction to take the codex. I love the idea of having my Tyranid army really feeling like an army being made up of living creatures. I would happily have units that are nowhere near as resilient to their Demon counter parts as longs as they are costed/stated appropriately. So, a good example of this working effectively is for Trygons. Instead of being a 4 wound MC with a 4+ invuln save you get the same effect by making it a 6 wound, no invuln save unit so you get to the same place but taking a different route while making both armies unique. Another good example is the idea of stripping down Hormagaunts from this crazy beast type thing that has crazy WS and Str to what it is now. Cheap, effective, makes sense and to be honest I really like that they don’t have flesh hooks (aka grenades).
Now, where the 5th ed Codex falls apart is the fact that things in the Nid book are still priced like Demons. Harpy’s are probably the best example. Let’s look at the Dark Eldar book for a sec, specifically the Grotesques. They have virtually the same stats except +1 WS and -1 wounds and the Grotesques have a LD of 4, but they are 35pts, meanwhile a Harpy is 160pts. So, for those 125pts you get a mediocre heavy weapon, MC status and the ability to drop “spore mines” on things you fly over…which pretty much can never happen since you only move 12”. Why is a Harpy so damn expensive? Harpy’s should be at most 120pts with everything staying the same except they can move like jet bikes minus the extra assault move (ie 24” turbo boost to drop their spore mines). BAM! All of a sudden you have a unit that is appealing, expendable and looks FUN to use. Another example of this “inappropriately-costing” is looking again at the Dark Eldar book and then at the rumors for the Grey Knights. A Talos has better stats then a Carnifex except the str and wounds, but is only 100pts and the new “Nemsis Dreadnight” has significantly better stats including a 2+/4++ save for only 130pts. I know the Grey Knight one is just a rumor and will probably be different for when the book is released (although the codex has already been leaked, so good chances are it’s true), but if it DOES stay that way I will be really disappointed.
As it stands right this Tyranid player feels that GW has missed a great opportunity of bringing many new Tyranid players into this army. I have seen a fair amount of people start nids because of the awesome new models only to see them selling their army on ebay 4 months later because of how poorly the book is written. I know now there really isn’t much that can be done as the book is out and GW has apparently washed their hands of it (good to see that BOTH books that were released AFTER Tyranids have had multiple waves of models, FAQs while we are waiting for almost half our book). What I really DO want though is for someone that works at GW who actually LIKES Tyranids to go through and do a serious errata. If I had the chance I would make the following changes :
- Genestealers (both types) come with flesh hooks (or whatever frag grenade equivalent) and their base cost be increased by 1pt
- Shadow in the Warp works on models in vehicles and is changed so that it is always the range of the Synapse of the creature with it. So, a Swarmlords Shadow in the Warp is 18” while a Tryanid Warrior’s is 12”, etc.
- Change Tyranid Warriors so they are T5, 2W, same cost
- Give the Tyranid Prime an option for Wings at 20-30pts
- Allow Tyranid Primes to join a unit of Tyranid Warriors in a Spore Pod or Outflanking because of Hive Commander
- Give Hive Tyrant the ability “Indescribable Horror” for free (like the last 2 editions) or remove it
- Change The Hive Tyrant’s Psychic Power “Psychic Scream” to always be at 12” instead of 2d6” with only invlun saves possible
- Change The Hive Tyrant’s Psychic Power “The Horror” psychic power to be 24” and -2 to the leadership penalty or make it a 12” bubble with all units having to check at normal LD (or -1)
- Change the Tervigon’s Psychic Power “Onslaught” to be cast in the movement phase and also include the line “allows unit to either run and shoot or gain “fleet” for that turn”
- Change the Broodlords Psychic Power “Hypnotic Gaze” to be cast in either assault phase
- Change the Broodlords Psychic Power “Aura of Dispair” to be cast in the movement phase and last till the next movement phase
- Remove the “-1 to damage chart” from the Venom Cannon
- Change Death Spitters to be 24” Str 5, AP5, Assault 1, Blast
- Remove Cluster Salvo
- Change Twin Linked Deathspitters on MCs to 5 pts
- Make all Termagant basic weapon options free, 5 points for a strangle web and make it str 4
- Change Doom of Malantai to grant only invuln saves but still not effect units in transports (ie units no longer get cover saves from his main ability)
- Change Lictor Deployment to be the same as Ymgarls or give them infiltrate or allow them to assault the turn they show up. Change their reserve bonus to allow one re-roll per Lictor (maybe “d3” for the Deathleaper) and always be allowed as long as the Lictor is alive
- Rework Trygon tunnel so one unit per Trygon can be “stored” in the tunnel. That unit automatically becomes available the turn after the Trygon emerges for both and can move from the tunnel as if coming in from reserves from the board edge (ie act normally). No MCs or units with wings can be stored in the tunnel. Or, another option would be to just roll for reserves for both units and if the unit in the tunnel becomes available at the same time or before the Trygon then they can move out of the hole with the Trygon.
- Give the Mawloc 2 sets of scything talons
- Change Harpy’s to be 120pts and move like jet bikes
- Change Carnifex’s to WS 4 and 140pts base
- Change Parasite of Mortex to be 100-120pts
- Change the Venomthrope to be purchased in units of 3, but are then turned into independent characters (ie exactly like Sanguinary Priests). Also, make BS 0 and make them WS 4
- Change Pyrovores to be WS 4, Str 5, T5, 3W, Init 2, 3 A, 4+ save. The heavy flamer reverts to being a regular flamer that is fired exactly like a hellhound. Also, Pyrovore retains acid attacks (ie power weapons) and always has a 50% chance to explode when killed, not just on instant death, taken in units of 3 - 5. Maybe 50-65pts? (**this one is only my idea of what they should be and obviously I haven’t play-tested it. I just think it is WAY more appropriate to what the model and fluff says it should be**)
That is pretty much what I have so far. I think for the most part all of those are very fair changes without ramping up their power level to a crazy point. Really, almost all of them are just “common sense” changes. Things like allowing a Prime to join other warriors in a pod or removing stupid SHOOTING psychic powers that you cast on your own units (aka Onslaught). Obviously there are ones that might need way more attention than me just sitting down at my computer and throwing down the first thing I think of to fix said problem. The one thing that always drives me nuts is when people go completely mental with changes like “Carnifexs should have 8 wounds and a 2+/3++ save and only cost 50pts!!!” (obvious exaggeration) so hopefully those changes don’t come off that way.
I know many people will read this and wonder why I even care at all, or at the very least to this degree. To be honest I wonder this myself quite a bit. I think the reason for it is because I have spent well over $1000 and over 300 hours worth of my time converting, building and painting this army. The biggest thing though is this has always been my favorite army for any game system. I just love how the models look, I love the basic idea of the army and I love how it looks on the table. It just frustrates me to no end having so many things just not make sense and to constantly feel like my army has hindrences just for the sake of it (ie only having frag grenades on a model that has init 1 and Lictors…sigh lol).
Let me know what you guys think and I promise above all promises this is the last time you will see me talking about the problems of Tyranids.
Next Up: Tactics of the “All Reserve” Tyranid army which, after playing it a whole bunch I feel is by far the most competitive way to play this army!