5th Ed. Tyranids: Tyranid Prime

Synapse emanates from the heart of a Tyranid hive fleet through the Norn Queen, down through the ranks of its bio-titans, to the shock-troops of the Zoanthropes & Hive Tyrants.  This is the way things have always been—until the latest strain of evolution.  Now new variants of creatures have appeared, threatening the Imperium of man in new and vicious ways.

Smaller versions of Hive Tyrants, officially called “Tyranid Primes” have been spotted across the frontier.  Warriors have colloquially dubbed these creatures as “Tiny Tyrants,” and indeed this seems to be the role they fill within the swarm.  Smaller, assault weapon wielding synapse creatures who seemingly enhance surrounding creatures…  Recommended disposal of these creatures is by means of regulation demolisher shells, as they make short work of the creature’s hardened carapace.

Do not try to engage these abominations in hand to hand combat.

With my vacation waning, I figured I should continue my assessment of the new bugs—just to finish what I started. Sure, I’m in Hawaii, and it beats the hell out of any day in Alaska, but it’s cloudy and windy, and I’ve already acclimated in the scant four days that I’ve been here.  Wow, I’m a wuss.  Anywho, I figured I’d mix things up a bit, and try my hand at some rough-draft fluff.  It’s fair, I guess… but I just need to get into the habit of jotting down tid-bits if I’m ever to get good at that sort of thing.

That aside, let’s continue with the assessment of the new Tyranid Prime (Alpha Warrior), using the old format, shall we?

The Good

With the pricey options available for HQ’s (and synapse in general), AlphaKrieger’s come in at exactly half the points of the next cheapest option.  With taxation of monstrous creatures throughout the codex, saving some points in the HQ section will be an appealing choice for many players—especially when you consider their stat-line is very similar to those of proper tyrants.   When compared to a 4th edition tyrant, a Prime’s stats are actually better, for less points (after you figure in required biomorphs). 

Current Tyrants have higher strength and toughness, but essentially the same WS, I, Ld, & Sv.   Sure, they’re subpar from a Tyrant, but consider that they still hit almost every unit in the game on 3+, still wound most things on 3+, and are immune to instant death by all but the absolutely strongest of weapons.  All that for half the points, and I start wondering why I’d take a Tyrant at all…

Additionally, Prime’s are one of the few Tyranid independant characters.  Furthermore, when they join a squad of warriors, they lend their weapon skill and higher ballistic skill to the squad.  In this way, they act like a force multiplier by lending not only their weight, but improving the survivability (in assault) and damage output of their surrounding squad members.  More on force multipliers over at Dwoemer’s blog.

Lastly, they escape the monstrous creature status.  This means they can join other squads freely, and can benefit from area terrain and other types of cover like normal.  This gives them additional survivability that most MC’s can’t achieve.

The Bad

Well, like all Tyranids, they are no longer immune to Instant Death.  Unlike MC’s though, their toughness isn’t high enough to shimmy under the double-strength rule. So, they do have to fear str10 weaponry.  Luckily, there are relatively few of those around these days–but it is something to consider.

Also, without being a monstrous creature, this means that your opponents will get armor saves against normal attacks–and you won’t be rolling 2d6 for armor penetration.  While the first can be mitigated by purchasing a power weapon, the 2nd clearly designates primes role as that of an infantry killer.  While 5+1d6 can glance most tanks–he’ll be much better off dispatching infantry around the board.

Their weapon options are significantly fewer than Tyrants–or even normal warriors for that matter.  Essentially they can be equipped with anything a Tyranid warrior can be, except for weapons that were previously classified as heavies.  Likewise, they can get most of the same option other units in the codex can: furious charge, regeneration, and poisoned weapons.  They can not, however, purchase psychic abilities, improved armor, wings, or many other options that are reserved for the hive tyrant.

The Ugly

Ultimately, these tiny-tyrants fit well within most lists as cheap alternatives.  They aren’t a complete replacement to the Tyrant though, as they have no real long range weaponry and no reliable method of dealing with vehicles.  Additionally, they’re squishier due to lower toughness and wounds (though these can be mitigated by cover rules, and their ability to hide in a squad).

Primes are a good alternative for someone who plays purely assault oriented HQ’s and doesn’t want wings.  In this role, they’ll need to take bone swords to effectively deal with armored troops, and will need to stay away from vehicles.  Armies led by primes should be heavier on zoanthropes, hive guard, or even carnifices to make up for their inability to handle tanks.  Luckily, using a Prime in lieu of a Tyrant can save you as much as 2+ zoanthropes in points!

He can’t get a drop pod, or wings, so there’s no native way to expedite his assault.  Since he can join a squad though, he should be able to hitch a ride in one of their landing spores for a quick jump to the front of the horde.  The logical choice for this is a unit of Tyranid warriors.

The Prime’s ability to improve warriors coupled with the symbiotic protection a unit of warriors can give to this guy, make putting him in a unit a no-brainer.  By and large, I can see a lot of these guys running around the board in the future… but I’ll have to convert one for myself before he hits the table in my house.  Rest assured though, I’m working on a solution…

Image owned by Lewis Trondheim.  It’s a series of children’s books published by http://www.firstsecondbooks.com/.

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4 comments on “5th Ed. Tyranids: Tyranid Prime

  1. I've been looking into these Primes as well. I thought modding and old-school Hive Trant might work out alright, its a shorter model and has similar height to the standard warrior but looks a little tougher…or maybe I could mod one of the original Warrior models…hmm…

  2. he can not hitch a ride in a pod(kinda, see below). This is something that plaggued Space Marine Special charcters in 5th ed. As an independent charcter you can only hold him in reserve if the mission allows it. and then you would still be rolling his reserve roll seperate from the squad with a drop pod. If you happen to bring both in at the same time he can hitch a ride. but otherwsie he will have to walk in from the board edge as normal. to many ifs to depend on….

  3. Except that with 'nids getting +1's from Tyrants, Swarmlords, &Lictors… it's pretty dependable to get your units on quickly. Thisis especially true if you're rolling with multiple units in drop podsthat the prime could join. That way, if one didn't show up at theright time, there's good odds that the 2nd would…

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