Thoughts on the New Tyranids

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Graceless
Shas
Posts: 2

Thoughts on the New Tyranids

Post#1 » Jun 18 2017 10:03

Hey there. First-time poster here. I was a Tyranids and dabbling Tau player in 7th edition, and now I'm teaching a Tau buddy the 8e rules. It's a much harder matchup for Tau in 8e than it was in the last edition, when they could get away with just standing still and shooting Tyranids off the board, but I think that once people start learning the matchup properly, it'll become roughly even. Here's what I've learned in my Tyranids vs. Tau games, from the Tyranids' perspective.

Kroot Hounds
are just an obscenely good screening or chaff unit. They're strictly better than Hormagaunts in every way except Synapse and they cost one point less. Their main problems are low Ld (partially alleviated by taking a Shaper; unsure if that's worth it) and small maximum unit size, which can be a hindrance if you're trying to get that first turn. If you're not worried about losing first turn, or you're already resigned to going last, then Kroot Hounds are an excellent use of a few dozen points. Just make sure to keep them over 3" away from your gunline, to avoid consolidation shenanigans.

Fusion blasters are probably the scariest battlesuit-mounted weapon that you can bring to bear against big bugs like Carnifexes. However, getting into range to use them can be very unsafe. If you're within 18" of a Carnifex with adrenal glands, it can move 7", advance an average of 4.5 inches, get buffed with Onslaught to charge after advancing, and then it'll only have to roll a 6 to stick the charge (with +1 to charge distance from Adrenal). This is why screening units are so important! If you have a bunch of Kroot Hounds between your suits and the fex, you can even get within 9" for the more reliable damage with little fear of a charge. (Just remember the 3" consolidate rule!)

Harpies and Crones are the worst enemies of your big gun platforms- aside from the Stormsurge, which doesn't particularly care. Both of them carry respectable guns with 36" range, and they're both T6 W12 Sv4+. But the real reason they're scary is that they both have Fly and 30" movement, along with decent melee weapons. Many Tyranid players will try to tie down your Broadsides (or Riptides) with an easy T1 charge to deny you a turn of shooting when you have to fall back. The most reliable way to prevent this is to tightly bubblewrap your big gun platforms 360 degrees with drones or infantry; if it can't tarpit anything of value, a Harpy is just another 160-point flyer with two lascannon-equivalents.

Hive Guard are dangerous infantry that must be dealt with very differently depending on which weapon they take. The Impaler Cannon is a Heavy 2 48" S8 AP-2 Dd3 weapon, but its most valuable attribute is the fact that it can shoot through solid objects and doesn't require LOS to fire. Impaler Cannon Hive Guard will hide in the back lines behind solid terrain with a Synapse-providing babysitter; they're best taken out with Deep Striking battlesuits if you can't stay out of their range. The Shockcannon is far deadlier- Assault d3 24" S7 AP-1 Dd3, but causes a Mortal Wound to Vehicles on a wound roll of 4+. Shockcannon Hive Guard are held back by their 5" movement and 24" range; keep your vehicles away from them and focus them down, since their defensive stats are flimsy for their cost.

Genestealers are shaping up to be the most dangerous Troop choice in the new Tyranids codex, and one of the deadliest Troops in the game. They can move 8" and Advance before charging, giving them an effective threat range of 8+3d6"! The most popular use for them seems to be running them in a 20-stealer blob, which will then be boosted by the Swarmlord's Hive Commander ability to give them a threat range of 16+4d6" and allow them to reliably secure a T1 charge, where they'll blitz almost anything down with 80 WS3+ S4 AP-1 pseudo-rending attacks. However, they're 12 points each and only have T4/5++, which means that they die in droves to massed S5 AP0 shooting. Guess what has lots of S5 AP0 shooting? That's right, gun drones!

That's all for now! I may expand this post later as I gain more practical experience in the matchup.

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 1719

Re: Thoughts on the New Tyranids

Post#2 » Jun 18 2017 11:27

My thoughts on your points:

Graceless wrote:Kroot Hounds[/b] are just an obscenely good screening or chaff unit. They're strictly better than Hormagaunts in every way except Synapse and they cost one point less. Their main problems are low Ld (partially alleviated by taking a Shaper; unsure if that's worth it) and small maximum unit size, which can be a hindrance if you're trying to get that first turn. If you're not worried about losing first turn, or you're already resigned to going last, then Kroot Hounds are an excellent use of a few dozen points. Just make sure to keep them over 3" away from your gunline, to avoid consolidation shenanigans.

Sure are neat against assault armies, however they do nothing for you against shooty armies. Their LD is too low to soak up nearly as much damage as gaunts could. In fact they are one of the few units where LD really matters even.
There's also the problem that we don't have good access to enough models so you won't see many T'au player bring a lot of these if at all.
As screening units, Shield Drones or Gun Drones are much better.

Graceless wrote:Fusion blasters are probably the scariest battlesuit-mounted weapon that you can bring to bear against big bugs like Carnifexes. However, getting into range to use them can be very unsafe. If you're within 18" of a Carnifex with adrenal glands, it can move 7", advance an average of 4.5 inches, get buffed with Onslaught to charge after advancing, and then it'll only have to roll a 6 to stick the charge (with +1 to charge distance from Adrenal). This is why screening units are so important! If you have a bunch of Kroot Hounds between your suits and the fex, you can even get within 9" for the more reliable damage with little fear of a charge. (Just remember the 3" consolidate rule!)

Fusion Blasters were always good and stay good. It's our heaviest hitting weapon apart from Railweaponry and we can spam it on basically every suit.
Useless against regular infantry though due low amount of shots and our BS4 can really screw us up on a 18" weapon if the Tyranid player positions his MCs properly.

Graceless wrote:Harpies and Crones are the worst enemies of your big gun platforms- aside from the Stormsurge, which doesn't particularly care. Both of them carry respectable guns with 36" range, and they're both T6 W12 Sv4+. But the real reason they're scary is that they both have Fly and 30" movement, along with decent melee weapons. Many Tyranid players will try to tie down your Broadsides (or Riptides) with an easy T1 charge to deny you a turn of shooting when you have to fall back. The most reliable way to prevent this is to tightly bubblewrap your big gun platforms 360 degrees with drones or infantry; if it can't tarpit anything of value, a Harpy is just another 160-point flyer with two lascannon-equivalents.

Actually if the Tyranid player starts spamming <Fly> units, I couldn't be happier. We can take Velocity Tracker on every suit making us finally hit better than 4+ again.
They are good, but a Tyranid player shouldn't focus on them too much, your ground units are tough and fast enough to be a threat for our units as well and your shooting isn't bad at all now either.

Graceless wrote:Hive Guard are dangerous infantry that must be dealt with very differently depending on which weapon they take. The Impaler Cannon is a Heavy 2 48" S8 AP-2 Dd3 weapon, but its most valuable attribute is the fact that it can shoot through solid objects and doesn't require LOS to fire. Impaler Cannon Hive Guard will hide in the back lines behind solid terrain with a Synapse-providing babysitter; they're best taken out with Deep Striking battlesuits if you can't stay out of their range. The Shockcannon is far deadlier- Assault d3 24" S7 AP-1 Dd3, but causes a Mortal Wound to Vehicles on a wound roll of 4+. Shockcannon Hive Guard are held back by their 5" movement and 24" range; keep your vehicles away from them and focus them down, since their defensive stats are flimsy for their cost.

Shockcannon Hive Guard are really strong but pretty uninteresting for us since we have barely vehicle in our lists anyway.
However they are a strong unit that outshoots us easily due BS3+ on its Datasheet and can soak up almost as much damage as our Crisis Suits with their T5 W3 Sv4+ for not even half of what a Crisis Suit costs (basecost).
So yes reserves are needed here. However I learned that Tyranids can easily castle up and outshoot us while pressuring us with some bigger monster at the same time so that's not as easy as it sounds.

Graceless wrote:Genestealers are shaping up to be the most dangerous Troop choice in the new Tyranids codex, and one of the deadliest Troops in the game. They can move 8" and Advance before charging, giving them an effective threat range of 8+3d6"! The most popular use for them seems to be running them in a 20-stealer blob, which will then be boosted by the Swarmlord's Hive Commander ability to give them a threat range of 16+4d6" and allow them to reliably secure a T1 charge, where they'll blitz almost anything down with 80 WS3+ S4 AP-1 pseudo-rending attacks. However, they're 12 points each and only have T4/5++, which means that they die in droves to massed S5 AP0 shooting. Guess what has lots of S5 AP0 shooting? That's right, gun drones!

Haven't had the chance to face Genestealer in a Tyranid list yet, but everything I've seen sounds like doom to us. Gun Drones are the answer to many things in the end but they are barely enough if at all.



Overall Tyranids can easily oversaturiate us with threats we have to dedicate most of our armies for due having almost Ork level BS. If half or your army doesn't hit in the only phase you can deal damage in, you really have problems against armies that can hit better in that phase + pressure you with melee units + debuff you/buff themselves with psychic powers as well.

Graceless
Shas
Posts: 2

Re: Thoughts on the New Tyranids

Post#3 » Jun 19 2017 12:25

Thanks for your thoughts, Panzer! I'd like to address them one by one, as you did mine.

Your thoughts on Kroot Hounds are revealing. It's true that they're not much use against shooting armies. However, if you're not even willing to spare 40 points for Kroot Hounds to help counter assault armies in a TAC list, you will get rolled by assault armies. This isn't 7th, where you can just ignore an entire archetype when building your list and have it turn out fine. Drones are not an adequate substitute as a screening unit against melee attackers because they cost twice as much per model and can't effectively counterattack in melee.

For Fusion Blasters, BS4+ on such a short-ranged weapon is pretty dicey, you're correct. Can't you put a Fusion Blaster on a BS2+ Commander, though? That seems like a better use of your points anyway, and it'll reliably put the hurt on MCs. You're entirely correct that a Fusion Blaster is wasted on infantry, but infantry-only Tyranid lists really aren't viable- I've tried. You're going to have some juicy targets to shoot them at.

You're entirely correct that Velocity Tracers will help you shred Harpies and Crones, especially with their poor saves and relatively low toughness. It's not so much that Harpies are a threat to Tau specifically- it's just that they're so good in most matchups that you're bound to run into them in TAC lists.

Hive Guard can't outshoot an equal points cost of Commanders in range, or even Crisis Suits, though you're correct about their durability. Each Hive Guard can only carry one Impaler Cannon or Shockcannon, unlike suits which can mount multiple formidable weapons. In the event that the Tyranids are spreading themselves thin by castling up while simultaneously threatening your front lines, I suggest shooting their source of backfield Synapse instead. This forces the Hive Guard to fall back on Drone-like targeting. As for Shockcannons- you are mostly correct that Tau field few vehicles, but don't let them near your Stormsurge!

I strongly disagree with your gloom-and-doom view of the matchup. It's almost certainly Tyranid-favored, but nowhere near as lopsided as Tau vs. Tyranids in 7e was. I hope that units like Crisis Suits and the Riptide are buffed soon, but for now, what you have to work with is by no means inadequate.

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 1719

Re: Thoughts on the New Tyranids

Post#4 » Jun 19 2017 02:32

Graceless wrote:Drones are not an adequate substitute as a screening unit against melee attackers because they cost twice as much per model and can't effectively counterattack in melee.

That's where I disagree. The added durability (T4 4+, possible 4++), utility (can tank shots for Infantry and Battlesuits) and damage output (4 S5 shots on Gun Drones) for only 4ppm more makes them a much better choice imo.
Also again, Kroot Hounds aren't models that are that easily to get in the numbers you'd need them while Drones are basically in every box (and every T'au player should have tons of drones accessible already).

Graceless wrote:For Fusion Blasters, BS4+ on such a short-ranged weapon is pretty dicey, you're correct. Can't you put a Fusion Blaster on a BS2+ Commander, though? That seems like a better use of your points anyway, and it'll reliably put the hurt on MCs. You're entirely correct that a Fusion Blaster is wasted on infantry, but infantry-only Tyranid lists really aren't viable- I've tried. You're going to have some juicy targets to shoot them at.

Yes, sure it's better on Commander. Commander can basically replace every Battlesuit we have except for Stealth Suits with Homer Beacon. However do we really want to judge an army based on a single unit? That's like back in 7th when all you've seen was Riptides. That's not the whole faction and we will see the other units as well for various reasons.

Graceless wrote:Hive Guard can't outshoot an equal points cost of Commanders in range, or even Crisis Suits, though you're correct about their durability. Each Hive Guard can only carry one Impaler Cannon or Shockcannon, unlike suits which can mount multiple formidable weapons.

Okay lets compare a similar set up for Crisis and Hive Guard:
Three Suits with a Missile Pod+ATS each (since Hive Guards can have only one weapon each).
Commander with three Missile Pods+ATS

Crisis Suits: 222p for three BS4+ 36" Assault2 S7 AP-2 D1d3
Hive Guard: 144p for three BS3+ 36" Heavy2 S8 AP-2 D1d3 that can shoot at units not visible and ignoring Cover.
Commander: 156p for three BS2+ 36" Assault2 S7 AP-2 D1d3

So for their points they clearly have the better damage output at that range and cost less. The Commander is very close however.
Now nobody in their right mind would play Crisis Suits with only one Missile Pod and an ATS, so let's compare a more realistic loadout. 3 Missile Pods on each Suit. And for the same points Hive Guards with Impaler Cannon (7 with some spare points). 2 Commander with 4MP

Crisis Suits: 342p for 18 shots with S7 AP-1 D1d3
Hive Guard: 336p for 14 shots with S8 AP-2 D1d3 no LoS required, no cover
Commander: 344p for 16 shots with S7 Ap-1 D1d3 (312p with 3MP+ATS for 12 shots with S7 Ap-2 D1d3)

The only other weapon with a comparable profile would be the CIB which brings one into charge range for faster units for an additional shot per weapon but also costs a bit less...and is obviously the better weapon for Crisis imo).
So for long range shooting I'd definitely prefer the Hive Guard over Crisis Suits and would say it's a Tie between Commander and Hive Guard.

As said before, the unit itself is almost the same (T5 W3 Sv4+ infantry, compared to T5 W3 Sv3+ not infantry).
Crisis obviously pay a lot of points for being able to deep strike, the <Fly> keyword and the ability to let Drones tank (although imo that should've been included in the Drones point cost instead).
However Drones also cost points so if one would want to use that advantage the unit would become even more expensive. <Fly> should rarely matter on a unit with that range and Deep Strike should barely matter at all since you don't really want to get anywhere anytime soon anyway.

A Crisis Suit unit CAN pack more punch than a Hive Guard unit...however it costs a lot of points and/or means they have to be a lot closer than 36" (18" usually).

Now we also have Missilesides too, but that would be even harder to compare due 2+ armor and secondary weaponsystems.

Graceless wrote:In the event that the Tyranids are spreading themselves thin by castling up while simultaneously threatening your front lines, I suggest shooting their source of backfield Synapse instead. This forces the Hive Guard to fall back on Drone-like targeting. As for Shockcannons- you are mostly correct that Tau field few vehicles, but don't let them near your Stormsurge!

In theory that's the way to go, of course. However I'm not talking theory but experience.
I already played against Tyranids more than a few times. It's not quite that easy. Just killing multiple units of Warrior is quite the task without spamming Commander and the Warrior hit on 3+ with a nearby Prime as well (albeit with only one strong long range weapon) and are Synapse as well.

A 1k Tyranid army with Warrior, Hive Guard, Prime, Tyranofex, Hive Tyrant, a Gaunt screen and a Carnifex (although that one was still rather useless lol) was quite hard to come by.
Hive Guard and Warrior were shooting better than I could with weapons that hit harder than most of mine, the Gaunt screen and him castling up made it pretty much impossible to deep strike to his vulnerable units and the Hive Tyrant made it even worse by debuffing my units while giving another unit FnP (usually himself) and running straight towards my army forcing me to either sacrifice one of my units to him (or rather two, since he kept debuffing one) or focus almost all of my shooting on him so I couldn't deal properly with his shooting units.
I'm sure I could've dealt with it better by spamming Commander. But that's like telling a Tyranid player in 7th to just play Flyrants. Nobody likes such a response ever. The other option of course would be to spam Gun Drones. However that would be just as lame (and I already had about 12 Gun Drones with Drone Controller with me).
If only one or two units in your army are good enough to take and outclass the rest then your army is bad. Period.
While in 7th everyone was taking Riptides, it was because the Riptide Wing was so broken not because the rest was bad. Right now everyone wants to take Commander and Gun Drones because the rest mostly falls short compared to other armies.
That being said, the world could look a lot brigther for T'au with a proper Markerlight table and slightly reduced cost for Crisis (talking 10ppm max, or 20ppm as it used to be if Drones get a point increase due their Savior Protocol utility).

Graceless wrote:I strongly disagree with your gloom-and-doom view of the matchup. It's almost certainly Tyranid-favored, but nowhere near as lopsided as Tau vs. Tyranids in 7e was. I hope that units like Crisis Suits and the Riptide are buffed soon, but for now, what you have to work with is by no means inadequate.

That wasn't really doom&gloom. I don't think T'au are entirely without chance to win, but it'll definitely be an uphill battle on every front.
It's better than it was in 7th but still far from good. I can't wait for the T'au Codex and hope it won't tilt in the opposite direction again.
T'au do have some good points and are rather fun to play, but there are things that are just screwed with the Index and that ruin most of the good points singlehandedly. That's not doom&gloom, that's a sober review of what we have.

Give us a +1 to-hit as 3rd bonus on the Markerlight table (instead of this pseudo +1 to-hit), shift some of the cost from Battlesuits to Drones and then we are mostly good. That's seriously all that's needed to 'fix' T'au imo.

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