Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Some Idle Thoughts...

Howdy Y’all! Sorry for the lack of posts over the month of December but it has been insanely busy at work and I also went home for Christmas for the first time in about 3 years (11 day trip). Throw both of those together and it equals zero time to paint or do anything with the hobby really. In fact I don’t think I have painted a model in almost a month, so hopefully over the coming weeks I will be able to get back into the swing of things.

I am currently working on an in depth tutorial on converting, basing and painting Ymgarl Genestealers for my Tyranid army. Going to talk a bit more about how to go about the feathering technique (ie how the army is painted) as well as the colours involved. The last part will be about basing in general and how to do scenic bases easily and on budget and how doing simple scenic bases vastly increases the appeal for your army. I am also getting into Warhammer Fantasy a bit and as I mentioned before I am starting an Ogre army (more pics soon…hopefully lol). I also managed to find my old High Elf army that I thought my ex girlfriend threw out. The crazy thing it is still all brand new, still on the sprue and comes out to about 4300pts of High Elves...so merry Christmas to me lol.

The main focus of this article though is to talk about something I have been thinking about for quite a while and that is what I feel is wrong with the 5th ed Tyranid codex and my own take on how to fix it.

**Disclaimer** I acknowledge the fact that this is a completely redundant exercise as literally nothing I do or say will ever be taken into account by games workshop. This is something I did just as a fun exercise to entertain myself while it is slow at work…plus it’s just fun to think “what if”**

The first thing I wanted was outline what I feel the current Tyranid Codex does well as there are a bunch of things that I do really like.

1) Reserve Shinanigans: By far the best aspect of this codex is how many deployment options you have access to as well as different ways to alter your reserve rolls. It really makes it feel like an alien invasion out of Starship Troopers or something with Tyranids coming at you from all sides. It is the one thing that regardless of the main issues with this book that keeps me coming back and still having fun playing this army.

2) Little Gribblies: I feel that Cruddace did a great job on all the smaller “Gant” type creatures in this army book. Last edition Hormagaunts were almost un-usable because of how expensive they were and without number while a good idea was a bit wonky in execution as well as being fairly expensive. I love all the changes both in their points cost (5-8 points per model) and what they do. Gargoyles especially are fantastic in both their rules and their models. All the smaller bugs (not counting rippers) feel exactly how they should in my mind.

3) Streamlining: I am sure I am very much in the minority on this one but I think it was pretty much essential for the current book to streamline the stats for the ranged weapons and the units instead of keeping the 3rd and 4th ed stat swapping system. It just reduces the confusion for your opponent and most of the time you just took the same stats anyway so why not just streamline it and find the middle ground? Here is a good example of what I am talking about:

Tyranid Player: “My Carnifex here has a toughness of 6, 4 wounds and a 3+ armor save”
Opponent: “Okay, good to know. I will fire at that other Carnifex in the back then with the two big guns with my Missile Launchers!”
*After Opponent Shoots*
Tyranid Player: “Oh…actually THAT Carnifex is toughness 7, 5 wounds and a 2+ armor save”
Opponent: “…..sigh”

4) Mega Worms!: This more has to do with the models than the actual codex. I just love these models and simply don’t care what they do…I will still field them lol.

With that out of the way I wanted to nail down what I personally feel are the real issues with this book that need to be addressed.

1) Horribly Written Rules: Never before have I seen a book that needed an FAQ before it actually came out. Things like the Trygon Tunnel, Doom of Malantai, Terror from the Deep, Lictor Deployment, etc. All of these rules are all over the place and/or are completely useless (*cough* Trygon Tunnel *cough*). If this book just had a solid once over from an editor or even just someone who played the game it would have been a way better book.

2) Redundancy: This one is of my personal biggest issues. What I mean about redundancy is how many options, both in unit choices and the ranged weapon section, that just flat out do the exact same thing. Why do we have 3 Devourers (Devourer, Stinger Salvo and Deathspitters)? Why do we have two “Sniper Fexs” (Tyrannofex and Carnifex are virtually the same unit when you break it down). Why do we have 2 different units of Lictors (Ymgarls have the Lictor’s deployment and fill the exact same role). The Hive Mind is all about hyper focusing and constantly evolving to create an army of creatures that specialize in one or two defined rolls working in synergy with each other to overcome their enemies. This book isn’t that.

3) Overcrowded Elites Section: Everything is crammed into the elites section, specifically all of our useful anti tank. It vexes me that I have to forgo all the “fun” units in the army if I want to make sure I have enough anti tank to survive in this current meta game which brings me to my next point…

4) Ranged Anti Tank: This and the all Carnifex armies were probably the two single biggest issues with the 4th edition codex and it was the number one issue I was hoping the 5th edition Codex would have solved. At first glance it almost looks like the issue was fixed with the addition of Hive Guard and to a lesser extent Tyrannofex’s. At second glance though you realize that Hive Guard share the same slot as everything you would want to take in your army and the Tyrannofex is a 4th edition Sniper Fex (Carnifex with a Venom Cannon and Barbed Strangler) with worse weapons and WAY more expensive. All Cruddace had to do was remove the “always glance” effect on the Venom Cannons while keeping everything else the same for them and this issue would have been rectified. Fixing Venom Cannons would have helped spread out the Anti Tank throughout the different Force Organization Slots and therefore removing the massive crutch in Tyranid army list building and that is taking as many Hive Guard as you can. Instead he actually makes the gun WORSE and therefore making the problem worse. Sigh.

5) Overpriced Monstrous Creatures: If you look at every other Codex, especially the ones written for 5th edition you will start to see what I mean. The Talos is 100pts base and better then a Carnifex (which is 60pts more expensive) in virtually every way. Dreadknights are only 135pts and same deal. Cruddace completely over estimated just how powerful Monstrous Creatures without an invulnerable save really are and it REALLY hurts the army. The only one that is pretty much spot on is the Trygon, everything else is 20-30 points too expensive (in the case of the Harpy which is 160pts base it is closer to 60pts). Either make the MCs a bit better or give them a slight discount.

6) Instant Death and Toughness 4 Tyranid Warriors: I remember playing Tyranids back in 3rd edition and one universal thing I noticed is that NOBODY took Tyranid Warriors, which was a real shame because they just received a great looking new model at the time and are one of the most iconic units in the army. The reason for this is that there were just getting insta-gibbed by every battle cannon and missile launcher under the sun. Fast forward to 4th edition and the designers knew they had to do something to address this so they added instant death protection to everything within synapse which all of a sudden made them a great unit. I will admit though that giving everything in Synapse Range Eternal Warrior was a bit over the top and I really wouldn’t want to see that return. Tyranids are a living army and mass eternal warrior should be reserved for Demons. With that being said though something should be done whether it is eternal warrior JUST for Tyranid Warriors or making them Toughness 5. Regardless though something really needs to be done to make them a more attractive option.

7) Lack Of Assault Grenades: For the most part I think it really fits the Tyranid Army that the majority of the army doesn’t have assault grenades. Even now we have tones of ways to mitigate the damage we take when assaulting into cover with things like Catalyst, Paroxysm and Lash Whips. The only unit that SHOULD have grenades though are Genestealers. You add some rule for them to assault into cover and you would have one super happy Tyranid Player here.

So, with all the above issues in mind I made changes based on how I would love to see the 5th Edition Tyranid Codex look. All the changes are just personal opinions on things and obviously none of it was play-tested. It was just changed based on my own experience with the current Tyranid Book and what just doesn’t work in it (or does work). Please feel free to make suggestions if you think things aren’t good enough or more likely to things that are too good. I have no issues toning things down or changing things if they are deemed too good and would very much love to hear people’s opinions on things. My main goal is to make something that is balanced and fits in line with the rest of the 5th Edition Codices, not something that sits in its own category (*cough Grey Knights *cough).

Tyranid Codex Redux