How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Discuss both Auxiliary, Allied and Aliens tactics
User avatar
Vio'ra Mal'caor
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 228

How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Post#1 » May 27 2017 10:12

Ok. I have compiled a compendium of my Tactical Experience fighting the Tyranids. My local area has tons of Nid players, and most of them have been defeated by me at some point. Of course, they also defeat me, but usually not in the same curb-stomping manner that I do to them. I like to call the winners 'Lucky Bugs'. Anyway, the following is a Q/A style list of things to do, and things not to do. As I post more, I will also include a list of Biomorphs to look out for, certain Tyranid Synapse Beasts to take out first, and a 200p Killteam list that has worked wonders for my army.

Help!!! My Ranged Tau army is facing a army of quick, melee-spamming Tyranids!!!
OK. In this situation, you should Keep Calm and Focus Fire. Your priority targets should be any Synapse Beasts which are within range. Tyranids do NOT usually take morale tests. Instead, if they lose all their connections to the Hive Mind, they have to succeed on a test, or start infighting and eating each other. If they succeed, and reach your forces, there is only one response: Hope that your crappy initiative holds out. Tau are not necessarily the worst at CC, but their low initiative often dooms them to a curb-stomp at PBR. When you get to that point, use Breacher teams at the front of a Gun Line to keep the Nids off your precious Strike Teams at the rear. If you have a couple of battlesuits (FW ones like the R'varna are REALLY useful) then keep some behind the Grunts On the Ground (GOG) and move the rest out to the sides to catch the Nids in a very effective crossfire. By doing this, you increase your chances of survival if the Nids overrun your ground troops, and also means that (if you keep the suits within 6") you can gain supporting fire on the bugs trying to make meat slurry out of your troops.

I have a opponent using Hormagaunts. Should I be worried???
You really shouldn't. Hormagaunts are what tissue paper is to a blazing fire. They have low Toughness, and only have one wound. Their main advantage is that they make good use of scything claws and adrenalin glands, which allow them to add more range on to their Assault Phase Charges. They can decimate your Fire Warriors in CC, but probably will NEVER, EVER GET THERE!!!!. However, they are not to be laughed at. Their points cost is quite low, and they can be bought to even 200p games in overwhelming numbers. They are literally Cannon Fodder. Cheap, Deadly and Plentiful Cannon Fodder.

My Opponent is using a Hive Tyrant. I don't have any monstrous Creatures. Am I F**ked???
No, you are not in that much trouble. For one, a Hive Tyrant is classified as a HQ, and is only as dangerous as the player possessing it. If you put enough Dakka into it, it will fall. I would recommend specing your army with Broadsides, as hive tyrants turn into swiss cheese when you bring two full squads of Broadsides to the fight. As well as this, don't let it reach your troops. MOVE around the battlefield, and avoid any sort of Gun Lines. I once played against a player with a Hive Tyrant, and he defeated me because I used a gun line that cut down the smaller units, but was defeated when he came up close. Admittedly, this was because it was my first large battle in 7th and I had only played Killteam up till then.

Which is better against Tyranids in an Urban Conflict Scenario (Cities of Death or other situations): Strike Teams or Breacher Teams?
That one goes to Breachers. Breachers are literally the equivalent of modern-day anti-terrorism teams. They are the sort of soldiers who shout 'Breach Now!!!' and kick down the door of a house, and then blast the place up with shotguns. GW introduced them as a alternate version of standard Fire Warriors, and split the normal '30" Ground Superiority Gods' off to form Strike Teams. They come with less options than standard Fire Warriors, but if you give then a Gun Drone, Guardian Drone and other toys, they can wipe the floor with any army in a urban environment. I would recommend using them because of one scenario that I player (not Cities of Death). You can find the full write up in the battle reports section under 'Guella Ridge'. The breacher team died, but not before eliminating most of their enemies, and holding the rest in a stalemate for at least ten minutes. Plus, they died from a building collapse, not from Hormagaunt blades. Their only real disadvantage is their lack of utility on a open field, other than repelling charge attack through last-minute overwatch.

Should I invest money in a Stormsurge to fight Tyranids???
Absolutely not. The Stormsurge is a great unit aginst Imperial Titans and other large mecha, but when placed against a army of biologically superior and faster insects, it sucks ass. I don't actually own a Stormsurge (I spend most of my savings on the bulk of my new army), but one of my close friends occasionally lends me his one for heated battles. It literally is the worst thing to use at colse range, even worse than Fire Warriors. It has PLENTY of guns- More Dakka than a small army- but it fails in one respect: it can't defeat infantry. Sure, you can defeat at least five hive tyrants in the first shooting phase you deploy it in. But under severe fire from smaller units: It literally goes down as fast as a redshirt. I'd give you six rounds maximum before an army that matches your stomsurge and accopanying troop's point value takes it down with lesser biomorphs. In fact, you probably would be lucky to even survive for half that time. But it does pull weight against larger Tryanid genus. So if the enemy is mostly infantry, prepare for a bad time with the massive titankiller. But if you have a couple of massive GigerMorphs (my 'affectionate' name for the Nids), well, prepare to make your enemies fold.
For the Tau'va ATT!!!

User avatar
Pyropower
Shas'Saal
Posts: 97

Re: How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Post#2 » May 27 2017 10:19

As a Tyranid player this is definitely a solid start, but there so many more options out there that I can field to start countering the Tau's ability to keep me at range.

If you only take one piece of advice to fight tyranids. Good amount of AP3 makes the entire army null and void except for the thropes who will fall quickly under any good rate of fire

User avatar
Vio'ra Mal'caor
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 228

Re: How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Post#3 » May 29 2017 04:22

Further Advice from combat situations. This continues the First Section (see top of the page).
Should I use Tanks???
When kitting out a army for Tyranids, Hammerhead tanks (and all variants of such) are NOT a good thing to use. When trying to use them against the tyranids, they fail repeatedly to pull their weight. Sure, you can kit them out for crowd control with submunition ammo, but then you lose the accuracy of solid shot ammo. As well as this, I have used my two hammerheads in the last four battles against three different armies. Guess what??? No matter how much I moved them away, the Tyranids overran my tank positions. Even with flechette dischargers, they still took out the tanks by forcing me to move extra in my shooting phase. Three different opponents with different strategy all saw the vulnerabilities of the tank, and overan my tanks. I only won two of those battles, which is generally a bad sign for me. In some cases (such as when versing primarily non-troop armies) hammerheads can take down a lot of Tyranids. However, they really don't have a good chance against swarms of hormagaunts and termagaunts.

What weapons loadouts are good on a XV8 team for an all-round combat role???
In my experience (using a single XV8 for killteam, and borrowing a team of three from a friend) plasma rifles are a awesome weapon. The Full list will be posted shortly after this current post. Anyway, my XV8 uses a plasma rifle/missile pod weapons loadout, with another wargear option I have momentarily forgot (not a weapon). The missile pod tends to be good against carnifexes and other larger beasts, but the plasma rifle (with AP2 and S6) is an extremely powerful weapon to use. It is extremely effective against low toughness/low wounds troops like termagaunts and hormagaunts, and can give quite a decent beating to Warrior Broods. However, it doesn't really do much against larger armies. One of these weapons by itself cannot drop enough enemies to prevent the bulk from reaching your troops who cannot move away as fast as a jetpack-equipped unit.

Other good weapons include the flamer (especially the twin linked version, with low point cost and high effectiveness at closer range), the Cyclic Ion Cannon (which really works when the gods of Scatter Die are on your side) and (surprisingly) the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector. The AFP is pretty much the only barrage weapon currently available to the Tau (not counting kitbashes and other means) and does pretty well against hoards of troops. However, it has a low effectiveness at close range, as you risk hitting your own troops in the process of firing. Although, you really don't need to let the enemy get close. I recommend using predominantly the CIC and the Plasma Rifle, as the flamers are unable to reach past their template (though good for keeping enemies off your back), the missile pod is rubbish compared to seeker missile systems (which can easily be accessed though a DS8 Turret), and the AFP is a bit of a wildcard compared to the more benign CIC. Fusion cannons are not recommend at ALL as they are primarily a anti-armour weapon, and I find that they do next to nothing for their point cost. There are weapons for the same cost that work MUCH better against Tyranids.

I want to use a HQ unit, but I don't know which one will work best against the Tyranids. Help!!!

If you want a good, all-round HQ, go for either a Ethereal (with a 50p cost, and plenty of buffs to your troops) or (my favourite) a XV8-05 Crisis Enforcer. The Crisis enforcer can mount four wargear options, and also has quite good versatility. As well as this, you can automatically mount signature systems, as the pilot is a Shas'vre as standard. I wouldn't recommend using Shas'erra, as she has little use with her twin fusion cannons. As I have already mentioned, I stray away from using the cool looking (and definitely effective) fusion weapons for Tyranid-killing units. However, it's your call for using Shas'erra, and I would support it, as I think that she is the BEST named Tau. She is Badass.

Another good commander is Commander Farsight, but I wouldn't recommend using him if (fluff-wise) you don't want your army to be lead by a traitor. But, in game terms, he is a awesome unit. His Dawn blade makes him one of the two Tau units I would recommend using in CC, and his suit looks badass when painted right. However, he doesn't have much ranged weapons, and he also tends to get tangled up in melee, which can lead to some embarrassing morale checks However, if you want to use Mont'ka, he is definitely the right choice for commander.

Going to my last recommendation, Darkstrider is one of the better HQ units for your personal use. Others tend to say that (as he is a relatively weak pathfinder) he gets killed a lot, but that isn't true. I have seen plenty of players in my area use darkstrider to lure the opposing players into traps, and make them focus on killing him, and then dealing with the carefully positioned strike teams and breacher teams. His main advantage is his Structural Analyser, which gives him the role of a vehicle killer. However, he is kinda both a asset and a liability, as you need to both be a cautious and strategically skilled player to make the most of him, and that can lead to some situations which ultimately end in the death of your HQ. I don't own a model, but for this section, I consulted the said member of the community, who is currently asking me to not mention his name. He is also telling me to include a story he is obsessed with involving Darkstrider and a Ork army, but I really don't have the time for that.
Last edited by Vio'ra Mal'caor on May 30 2017 12:38, edited 1 time in total.
For the Tau'va ATT!!!

User avatar
Tael
Fio'O
Fio'O
Posts: 5792
Contact:

Re: How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Post#4 » May 29 2017 09:54

Building into a solid tactica article. Thank you!

User avatar
Vio'ra Mal'caor
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 228

Re: How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Post#5 » May 30 2017 12:36

Weapons: The Tau Armoury
This section will provide info on which weapons are most effective in my experience against the Tyranid Swarms. Previously, some weapons have been discussed, but this section will provide more info, as well as a couple of pointers on the advantages and disadvantages of each. Note that what works for me might not work for you if you are using a certain playstyle. I prefer to engage at long range, so when I advise that flamers are not as good a weapon as a CIC, then your opinion may vary. I would appreciate it if people did not post arguments directly here, but instead PM me. If you are presenting extra information, please, post it here. However, all arguments that are opinions, not advice, should be sent to me, not shared on a public forum.

Airbursting Fragmentation Projector (AFP)
This weapon is a very useful weapon to have. It has the sole status as the only barrage weapon available to the Tau Empire, and as a result is a very useful weapon against a swarm-type enemy like the tyranids (Swarm type describing CC enemies with low point cost like Nids & Orks). However, it becomes a liability when used close up, and it cannot be twin linked like all other Crisis suit weapons. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantage, and it is very useful for killing mass amounts of enemies at the same time.
Advantages
  • Good Crowd Control
  • Great hit/miss ratio
Disadvantages
  • Terrible at close range- kills your troops as well as the enemy

Burst Cannon
A weapon that has seen better days, this weapon saw heavy use against all enemies back in 5th edition. However, due to massive hitting with a nerf bat, the weapon is now outmatched by other weapons that do pretty much the same role. It certainly can output the most shots out of all the similar weapons, but it is usually better to use another weapon like a CIC, or a Plasma Rifle to deal with a wider range of factions. However, recent talk suggests that the weapon might make a big comeback in 8th edition, so don't throw your burst cannon parts away yet!!!
Advantages
  • F**king insane amount of shots
Disadvantages
  • Outmatched in utility by most other S5 weapons
  • Very inefficient compared to to other weapons

Cyclic Ion Cannon (CIC)
This weapon is quite decent, being a Assault 3 weapon with quite decent range. It also has a overcharge mode like all Ion weapons, which gives it the advantage of becoming both a heavy and blast weapon, but gains the Get Hot rule as a result. Due to recent developments in my opinion, I am going to give a recomendation to this weapon. It may be constantly cursed by the Gods of Scatter Die, but at least 50% of the time I have used it, the blast has scattered onto another group of troops, thereby blowing the hell out of larger armies. However, I still dislike the heavy rule, and I don't recommend using this weapon on a high-mobility Crisis build.
Advantages
  • Good damage
  • Can be overcharged
  • Assault three: reason enough
Disadvantages
  • Cursed with the scourge of Scatter Die
  • Not good for more mobile units: Can't move and shoot in overcharge in the same turn
  • The get hot special rule is a travesty

Flamer
These are best when twin-linked and put of a shas'vre. Why a Shas'vre, you ask??? Well, they are the only Battlesuit pilots allowed to mount Signature Systems on their Crisis, and as a result, are the recipient (in this case) of a Repulsor Impact Field. With this combo (suggested by a member of the ATT community), you can literally repel advancing enemies, and flame the hell out of the rest. However, severe disadvantages include a short templated range, and a severe problem when using only these, and coming up against a bunch of Nids with LR weapons who can then give you a taste of the 'shoot them before they get there' Vaccine. But, it always hits what's in front of it, and can do decent damage. Recommend for city-terrain maps. Not recommended for cooking your breakfast- the bacon will turn to ash, and the eggs will just explode. Plus, you'll just ruin the toast.
Advantages
  • Uses a assured-hit template
  • Good damage
  • Extremely effective in CQB's
Disadvantages
  • Short range
  • Gives you a chance to taste your own medicine

Fusion Blasters
One of the best anti-armour weapons in the game (arguably one of the top 3), this BFG will leave piles of slag where your non-buggy friends were once. Unfortunately, the same does not apply for most Tyranids. In my opinion, some players decide to use models that circumvent most of the effectiveness of the weapon. Sure, it has a OP Armour Piercing bonus (AP1), but in all honesty: it never worked for me. I haven't used this much in 7th, and 5th was definitely different with the rules. However, the weapon was terrible at defeating Tyranids other than the less tough Hormagaunts and Termagaunts, and the Tyranids don't really have much models to fill a armour role. I would recommend leaving this weapon out. Not because it doesn't kill enemies (really, I have killed quite a few Gigermorphs with this baby). The reason is, it is inefficient compared to others such as the CIC and the AFP. So I won't reccomend the heavy use of this weapon. Have at least one, but don't waste poitns on a second, or even twin-linking it. It just isn't worth it.
Advantages
  • AWSOME AP
  • Great damage
Disadvantages
  • Terrible efficiency
  • Terrible Range
  • High point cost for it's effectiveness

Missile pod
This weapon is good for support. However, you'd be better off using a DS8 with ground troops instead, as this option does less AP and Strength than the slot is worth. I use one occasionally, and it doesn't pull weight against Nids. It rarely manages to wound, and the AP value is not worth it. In my opinion, GW should make this weapon a blast weapon, as it is quite useless (unless you're sniping at close range), and delivers very little punch against larger Gigermorphs.
Advantages
  • Quite accurate at Close Range
Disadvantages
  • Doesn't pack enough punch
  • Very hard to wound with the current stats

Plasma Rife
My personal favourite. Basically a weaker version of the imperial version in fluff, it is unique in that is is a plasma weapon that doesn't have the Get Hot rule. It has the second-best AP (AP2), and is very efficient when combined with a weapon like the AFP. Only problem: 24" range, which makes it pretty bog-standard for a battlesuit weapon. In my opinion, this is the best weapon against all Tau enemies, giving it lot of utility.
Advantages
  • Doesn't get hot
  • 2nd best AP
  • Great utility
  • Very efficient against Tyranids
Disadvantages
  • Bog-standard range (which is...fair, I think)
For the Tau'va ATT!!!

User avatar
Vio'ra Mal'caor
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 228

Re: How to deal with Tyranid Swarms: Advice from a Tyranid Combat Veteran

Post#6 » May 30 2017 04:36

MORE FAQ FOR THE GRINDER

Like the marines from the classic movie Starship Troopers, this topic is all about crushing bugs underfoot. Unlike the gung-ho, facist and extremely funny human soldiers, our calm, communist and grimdark Tau will not be slaughtered and chopped in half. These are some more tactics for you to prove that Tyranids are just asking for you to bring out the bug spray.

I am playing a 2000p battle, and I am losing troops. I have taken down quite a few tyranids, but I have about a quarter of my forces left. Can I still win???
There was once a tactician called Sun Tzu, who lived in Ancient China. He is remembered for writing the soldiers handbook 'The Art of War', which gave strategic advice that is still used today. I am not Sun Tzu, but I can tell you some easy(ish) steps to win (or at least lose feeling less embarrassed).
1. Take careful note of which units you have left. Note (if you can) the equipment they have. If helps if you have your army committed to memory
2. If there is significant cover/structures in the terrain, move the majority of your troops to ground. If you are playing with specialists, focus priority on Guerilla Specialists, as they are best suited for counter attacks. Keep your Heavy Support and Fast Attack in play, using the FA to make strikes into enemy areas, before pulling back, and keeping the enemy occupied with any LR heavy support like Railheads and Broadsides
3. Try to take out as many synapse beasts as possible. Focus on the ranged firepower Nids, as they tend to be the thing that will endager you the most. While melee nids can chase you round for a long time, biomorph nids tend to be able to kill you while you're running
4. Don't worry about the points: fight to the last man. It doesn't matter if you lose: it's only a game. But if you can defend that objective or kill enough Nids, you can win a moral victory. You may not win the battle, but you will still have a lot of fun!!!
5. Try to prioritise targets: worry about the more dangerous Nids (like Carnifexes, Tyrants, Tyranofexxes, etc) and worry less about the frailer Gaunts and Spore Mines. Also watch out for the termagaunt-spewing Tervigon, which can quickly deploy new reinforcements.
6. If you survive long enough to reduce the swarm by half, begin targeting the lesser creatures, and also mop up any remaining Monsterous Creatures or war-machine sized creatures. You should begin with any Tyranid Warrior Broods, and work your way through to kiling the smaller creatures, such as rippers and every single Gaunt-genus you can put pulse dakka into. Try to save your battlesuit and vehicle mounted weapons for the larger creatures, as wating them on Gaunts is a bad thing to do.
7. Get out the bug spray and kill the buggers...bad pun, sorry. No, just shake hands and wish the opponent good game. No victory dances or face-rubbing. Just be a good sport, and treat them how you would a opponent you have beaten in chess, or some other boardgame.

Should I be worrier about the native animals attacking me like it says in the Tyranid Codex???
Like most codex information, the 'animal uprising through Genestealer Hybridisation' is fulff only, and has no gameplay value. Same as the tyranids eating your troops. Unless you are a plastic mini who is brutally attacked by your baby brother, who devastates your entire 5th edition army (trust me, I know...), your troops will not be taken away after being recorded as casualties. If so, people like Pyropower would have already have quite a sizable tau/everything army. LOL!!!! :::( :D :biggrin:
For the Tau'va ATT!!!

Return to “Engaging the Alien”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest