5th Ed. Tyranids: Carnifices

Just what is the plural of Carnifex, anyway?  Carnifexes?  Carnifi?  Well, according to Faolain over at AwakeningYnnead, the proper plural should be “Carnifices” (not to be confused with Carnifeces–something even the most battle hardened warriors of the Imperium are dreadfully afraid of).  Faolain’s post is a really great breakdown of names for most of the classic Tyranid units and where they came from.  After reading that, it’s clear that whoever designed the ‘Nids was a misogynist (or a country-western singer, but the absense of a unit namd “CanineFledMyTraileris” points towards the former).

As Faolain points out in his thread, the name in Latin actually means “Executioner” (from the root “Flesh-maker”)–hence the picture.  It’s also the name for a marsupial lion, an Italian lizard, a tiny crab, and a cheesy death-metal band from San Diego (that’s a test to see if I offend any metal-heads out there).  Wow, who knew there was an education to be had in this game?

Ok, enough learnin’ for the day: bring on the Carnifex!

The Good

Ok, um… kinda hard to find an upside to the new carnies (doh… I should’ve had a picture of carnival folk instead of an executioner!).  Ok, that aside, there are a few bright spots on this unit.

First of all, it’s still a beast.  It’s statline is relatively unchanged, except it comes defacto with +1 BS and +2 attacks (as if it had scything talons–which it does, except now they dont’ give extra attacks, they give you rerolls).  Those re-rolls will be handy too, since he has a relatively low WS (unchanged), and you’re paying alot for those str9 monstrous creature attacks.  He also got an ability that gives them additional initiative on the charge, so you can smash those pesky powerfists before they get a chance to attack back…

They also can be purchased in squads of 1-3 models.  This means that the maximum number of carnies you can have per army went up from 6-9 (and doing so now, no longer sucks up your elite spots).  They can also purchase options for crushing claws (additional attacks at lower I), and/or frag grenades.

5th edition also heralds the return of bioplasma for these behemoths.  I liken it to a (really) short-ranged heavy plasma gun (because that’s what it is).  I’m glad they brought this back as now we can all run around and make hacking noises like a cat choking up a furball in an attempt to mimic this creature.  Furballs really were one of the better parts of the 2nd edition codex too… 

Lastly they can get landing spores (read: drop pods) to be in your enemy’s face much faster than before. 

The Bad

Sadly, this section is doomed to be longer than it’s predecessor.  The big downfall is that the base cost of the model went up by almost 50%, without a significant boost to it’s performance. 

To add insult to injury, their leadership was lowered, and their available options suffered nearly complete obliteration.  Gone are all of the fancy head and carapace options from the plastic kits.  Now you’re left with the fairly standard: furious charge, poisoned weapon (which is even worse on these guys than they are on Hive Tyrants), and regen.  I’m almost sad to admit it, but they can get frag grenades.  Granted, I mentioned this in the “good” section above, but the fact that the item was so readily available to the entire list before, and is almost nowhere to be found anymore makes me sad face. 😦

Likewise, the days of dakka-fexes, or sniper-fexes, or whatever people called them (fexes with two long ranged heavy weapons) are no more.

Lastly, they can no longer be purchased as elites.  Well, this shouldn’t be astounding, since they’re well over the minimum charge they had in the past edtion to be converted to elites–and not like I’d rather throw another overpriced ‘fex in instead of some more uber zoanthropes, right?

The Ugly

I suspect the additional points cost per model are to discourage people from playing “Nidzilla” lists anymore, and encourage more balanced lists.  As I’ve proposed before, I don’t think the higher priced big bugs will be a detriment to anyone playing a balanced list, since they’ll be offset with the new cheaper little bugs.  Though I hate to see a unit nerfed, I’m all for balance, so this is really a good change (especially since you can have so many carnies now adays).

The fact that they can run in units of 1-3 is a bone–and a bad one at that.  I can’t see any real reason to do this, unless you’re just blowing points.  Carnies in broods of 1 are far superior, since they can split their fire and attacks.  It’s a rare combat that requires more than one ‘fex to clear (Even with a powerfist–they’re going to take a few turns to take down at least).  The fact that models purchased as a squad will have to retain cohernency and act… well, like a squad, is poo.  Just ask the Iguard players: how many of them are using Leman Russ tank squadrons?

I suspect the default layout for these guys will be as slim and trim as possible.  Landing spores will be common, but not because they keep the model alive much longer–mostly because it gets them into combat that much faster.  Venom cannon and scything talons, I can possibly see purchasing furious charge against multi-wound str5 models (eg. space wolf calvary) for the ability to inflict ID, but the rest of the options just aren’t worth their cost. 

Well, that is except for the bioplasma.  There’s just no point value I wouldn’t pay to be able to mock cats.

Image originally posted at trutv.com , in a rather creepy post.

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14 comments on “5th Ed. Tyranids: Carnifices

  1. “What is the plural of Carnifex”? Well, in English it would be Carnifexes. In Latin, the -x ending puts it subject to the third declension, likely a masculine form. You’re using the nominative voice (stating/declarative; used when talking about something in neutral terms), so the plurality would be Carnificēs. Faolain’s post was on the money, except for the inflection tone.

    “Sadly, this section is doomed to be longer than it’s predecessor” The Good: 275 words. The Bad: 210. I might have accepted “weightier” or other synonym though. :-p

    So I have to disagree with your analysis on them as units though. The reason IG Tank Squadrons don’t work is because of the Vehicle Squadron rules and the problems with “Immobilized=Destroyed”. But in the case of Carnifexes… you’re talking a Monstrous Creature unit able to play the Wound Allocation game. Add into this their High T, number of Wounds, and the ability to Regenerate? You’re talking something that is going to be nigh impossible to put down and certainly not quickly. That’s just SCARY.

  2. “What is the plural of Carnifex”? Well, in English it would be Carnifexes. In Latin, the -x ending puts it subject to the third declension, likely a masculine form. You’re using the nominative voice (stating/declarative; used when talking about something in neutral terms), so the plurality would be Carnificēs. Faolain’s post was on the money, except for the inflection tone.

    “Sadly, this section is doomed to be longer than it’s predecessor” The Good: 275 words. The Bad: 210. I might have accepted “weightier” or other synonym though. :-p

    So I have to disagree with your analysis on them as units though. The reason IG Tank Squadrons don’t work is because of the Vehicle Squadron rules and the problems with “Immobilized=Destroyed”. But in the case of Carnifexes… you’re talking a Monstrous Creature unit able to play the Wound Allocation game. Add into this their High T, number of Wounds, and the ability to Regenerate? You’re talking something that is going to be nigh impossible to put down and certainly not quickly. That’s just SCARY.

  3. I personally am looking forward to having a brood of Carnies taking up 1 heavy slot.

    Yeah, they won’t be able to split off and charge different targets (as easily as before). But I pretty much always ran my carnies together because they would take so much hvy wpn shooting that inevitably one carnie would die and the other one(s) would take a number of wounds before they reached the enemy.

    Plus, I found (the hard way) that carnies weren’t that great in CC under 4th Ed rules (unless I spent an ungodly amount of pts, and even then …) – If I wanted to (almost) ensure that I won combat and not get bogged down, I had to charge enemy squads with (at least) 2 carnies at the same time (or with supporting CC troops).

    Picture this – a brood of 3 carnies on the table charging towards the enemy on turn 1. Enemies reaction: Most likely pour as much hvy firepower they can into that unit. Which means they aren’t shooting at your other stuff (awesome!).

    Now add wound allocation to the carnie brood, and boy-o-boy do you have one tough unit to kill. It will be almost impossible to kill a carni outright before they reach their lines because of that.

    Now imagine having 2 trygons/mawlocs pop up on turn 2 right in your enemies lines – you think they’re gonna shoot at those Carnies again? Doubtful.

    Or add 2 broods of 2 or 3 carnies and a trygon popping up on turn 2. Those carnies ARE gonna wreak some major havok on your enemy.

    I can’t wait to try these combo’s out along with an insane amount of gaunts and warriors.

    • In contrast, I rarely ran more than 1 carnifex in the previous edition. I look at them as a sponge that soaks up incoming fire from the rest of my army. This is largely because of the way I play against them (Which is identical to how I face wraithlords, c’tan, etc.), and that is to ignore them. Granted, Carnies are the easiest to kill of the lot, but it just takes too much effort to do so–and that’s effort I’d rather pump into killing other targets. I just accept that a certain amount of damage is going to be put out by them in the shooting phase, but I can move around them to keep them out of assault to minimize their damage–well, that is if they’re not running a ton of them.

      The thing is, that 3 carnifexes that must stay together as a unit are just as easy to avoid. Three seperate units can herd and eventually trap me though…

      So, from the Tyranid line, I assume players will take up the same strategy as I do. Whether a Carnifex makes it to the enemy line or not is really not an issue to me: it’s a matter of how much fire they can soak up before dying. If they make it to the enemy line, they’re just gravy after that.

      That said, most of the time, my carnies did manage to crash into the enemy lines–and once there, they’d often get bogged down by hordes, but I could use other units to assist them… or, in the worst case, the close combat was blocking shooting attacks already.

      I guess I never saw them as monstrous beasts in hand to hand (though clearly they can be). They’re just a fire magnet to me. A larger fire magnet isn’t as good as multiple magnets.

      As for wound allocation and playing games with it. First of all, I recognize it’s a part of the game, but it’s cheesy to me. Secondly, as I understand it, each of the three carnies in the brood had to be armed identically… if that’s the case, there goes the allocation games. If it’s not though, by all means…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I personally am looking forward to having a brood of Carnies taking up 1 heavy slot.

    Yeah, they won’t be able to split off and charge different targets (as easily as before). But I pretty much always ran my carnies together because they would take so much hvy wpn shooting that inevitably one carnie would die and the other one(s) would take a number of wounds before they reached the enemy.

    Plus, I found (the hard way) that carnies weren’t that great in CC under 4th Ed rules (unless I spent an ungodly amount of pts, and even then …) – If I wanted to (almost) ensure that I won combat and not get bogged down, I had to charge enemy squads with (at least) 2 carnies at the same time (or with supporting CC troops).

    Picture this – a brood of 3 carnies on the table charging towards the enemy on turn 1. Enemies reaction: Most likely pour as much hvy firepower they can into that unit. Which means they aren’t shooting at your other stuff (awesome!).

    Now add wound allocation to the carnie brood, and boy-o-boy do you have one tough unit to kill. It will be almost impossible to kill a carni outright before they reach their lines because of that.

    Now imagine having 2 trygons/mawlocs pop up on turn 2 right in your enemies lines – you think they’re gonna shoot at those Carnies again? Doubtful.

    Or add 2 broods of 2 or 3 carnies and a trygon popping up on turn 2. Those carnies ARE gonna wreak some major havok on your enemy.

    I can’t wait to try these combo’s out along with an insane amount of gaunts and warriors.

    • In contrast, I rarely ran more than 1 carnifex in the previous edition. I look at them as a sponge that soaks up incoming fire from the rest of my army. This is largely because of the way I play against them (Which is identical to how I face wraithlords, c’tan, etc.), and that is to ignore them. Granted, Carnies are the easiest to kill of the lot, but it just takes too much effort to do so–and that’s effort I’d rather pump into killing other targets. I just accept that a certain amount of damage is going to be put out by them in the shooting phase, but I can move around them to keep them out of assault to minimize their damage–well, that is if they’re not running a ton of them.

      The thing is, that 3 carnifexes that must stay together as a unit are just as easy to avoid. Three seperate units can herd and eventually trap me though…

      So, from the Tyranid line, I assume players will take up the same strategy as I do. Whether a Carnifex makes it to the enemy line or not is really not an issue to me: it’s a matter of how much fire they can soak up before dying. If they make it to the enemy line, they’re just gravy after that.

      That said, most of the time, my carnies did manage to crash into the enemy lines–and once there, they’d often get bogged down by hordes, but I could use other units to assist them… or, in the worst case, the close combat was blocking shooting attacks already.

      I guess I never saw them as monstrous beasts in hand to hand (though clearly they can be). They’re just a fire magnet to me. A larger fire magnet isn’t as good as multiple magnets.

      As for wound allocation and playing games with it. First of all, I recognize it’s a part of the game, but it’s cheesy to me. Secondly, as I understand it, each of the three carnies in the brood had to be armed identically… if that’s the case, there goes the allocation games. If it’s not though, by all means…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Good points Rob.
    I hadn’t thought of the “herding” effect, which is exactly what I did under 4th Ed rules in all of my games.

    Also, I totally spaced on how wound allocation works in units of identical minis.

    For the most part though, I’m a horde player – I regularly fielded 5 units of 20 gaunts in my games – even at 1,000 pts! Much to the chagrin of my friends …

    So you can imagine just how excited I am with the new dex, which I’m hoping I can get my claws on tomorrow!

    BTW – great blog!
    Would love to see pics of stuff you paint/convert.

  6. Good points Rob.
    I hadn’t thought of the “herding” effect, which is exactly what I did under 4th Ed rules in all of my games.

    Also, I totally spaced on how wound allocation works in units of identical minis.

    For the most part though, I’m a horde player – I regularly fielded 5 units of 20 gaunts in my games – even at 1,000 pts! Much to the chagrin of my friends …

    So you can imagine just how excited I am with the new dex, which I’m hoping I can get my claws on tomorrow!

    BTW – great blog!
    Would love to see pics of stuff you paint/convert.

  7. I’m a newbie at this, but here is another thought. What about a brood of say 2 carnies that are then followed by a Troop-Tervigon with catalyst? Granted, you are spending a lot of points, but you now have a scoring unit that can produce more scoring units, and is being shielded (read: coversave) by two potentially FNP carnies (meaning they will probably make it to enemy lines). This could give the opportunity to not only contest, but control a backfield objective, while also damaging your opponent’s rear field – something that may make an opponent think twice before ignoring and focusing on another unit.

    • Sounds very doable–but the Tervigon could also give FNP to itself (to give itself essentially the same thing as a 4+ cover save–better in some ways), and still poop out termies to hold the objective without the use of Carnifices.

      Granted, the Carnies add a lot more muscle to the situation, but they also add significant cost. If it’s a rear objective, a Tervigon that poops out a few units of termies should prove to be enough to hold about any objective in the game without needed Carnifex support. Well, at least that’s the theory…

  8. I’m a newbie at this, but here is another thought. What about a brood of say 2 carnies that are then followed by a Troop-Tervigon with catalyst? Granted, you are spending a lot of points, but you now have a scoring unit that can produce more scoring units, and is being shielded (read: coversave) by two potentially FNP carnies (meaning they will probably make it to enemy lines). This could give the opportunity to not only contest, but control a backfield objective, while also damaging your opponent’s rear field – something that may make an opponent think twice before ignoring and focusing on another unit.

    • Sounds very doable–but the Tervigon could also give FNP to itself (to give itself essentially the same thing as a 4+ cover save–better in some ways), and still poop out termies to hold the objective without the use of Carnifices.

      Granted, the Carnies add a lot more muscle to the situation, but they also add significant cost. If it’s a rear objective, a Tervigon that poops out a few units of termies should prove to be enough to hold about any objective in the game without needed Carnifex support. Well, at least that’s the theory…

  9. Yeah. It really is a cheezy death-metal band. Nothing to offer in terms of originality or viewpoint. A band better off neglected. Whitechapel on the otherhand is pretty wicked.

  10. I hear what your saying and you are probably right. I guess in my mind, the Carnies could open the path toward the rear objective and then move on to other targets (like any Heavy Support) while the Tervigon remains at the objective. But you are probably correct that this is overkill and probably looks better on paper than in actual practice – alas showing my newbiness.Kelterran

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