I’ve tried to be objective. I’ve tried not to pick favorites in the new codex. When rumors of a scoring monstrous creature that creates other troops scattered around the net, the blogosphere was quick to praise this as the unit of choice for the codex: sample lists containing five Tervigons started showing up.
I was quick to play the devil’s advocate. Sure, this unit looked good–but there’s no way GW would make such a lopsided choice in the codex, would they?
Synapse is the lifeblood of a Tyranid army, and the thought of giving that feature to a super-tough unit of troops is just phenomenal. Additionally, he can extend his range of synapse to 18″ (which is cute, but largely unnecessary–since synapse is particularly valuable at the begining of the turn, and he doesn’t get the chance to use this power until later on).
The ability that gives this guy his MVP trophy is, without a doubt, his ability to poop out helpers. Each turn, he can call forth a unit of termagants to do your bidding and, if they stand close enough to him, he can enhance them with his special skills (assuming you purchase them). Granted, you may use this power sparingly during KP missions, but in missions where you simply want more troops to hold objectives, this ability is a god-send.
He comes by default with a lack-luster, mid-ranged gun with relatively low strength and poor AP–which he can switch out for a gun with almost identical stats, but a large blast template. Me, being the fan of templates that I am, won’t run him without the free upgrade, but I s’pose some out there might disagree with the choice. He does have a fair amount of options available to him as well. In fact, he can purchase almost all of the same (non-shooty) upgrades that a Carnifex can except for a landing spore & frag spines–plus he has the option to take Acid Blood & Toxic Miasma, both of which can help him if he gets swarmed.
Two other psychic abilities round out the gambit of options: Catalyst (allowing a nearby unit to benefit from the Feel no Pain USR) and Onslaught (allowing a nearby unit to both run and shoot in the shooting phase–which is particularly handy to Bio-Titans in Apocalypse, I might add!).
As for stats, they run about as defacto a statline as a monstrous creature in the codex comes: 6 wounds @ 6 toughness with a 3+ armor save. That’s pretty standard and, while not impossibly hard to kill, it ensures that the enemy will have to focus fire on him to bring this thing down. The only stats in which he’s lacking are WS, Strength, Initiative and Attacks–and several of those, just barely. But let’s face it, he wasn’t designed as a close combat monster.
Well, his stats aren’t quite as impressive as other monstrous creatures when it comes to hand to hand–but they’re good enough that he can hold his own until something else comes around (like a see of freshly spawned termagants, perhaps?). In most cases, this will hold true, but initiative 1 vs. powerfists doesn’t make a pretty combo. There aren’t many real upgrades you can take to drastically improve him in assault either. Likewise, there’s no option to put him in a landing spore–like virtually every other Tyranid unit. Which means he’ll be relegated to the back of the board.
He’s also fairly pricey–weighing in for roughly the cost of a full squad of termagants, or a space marine tactical squad. Considering that he can spawn more gaunts than that in a single game though, this is of little consequence.
Most of his key abilities (outside of pooping out more troops) are based upon psychic abilities. So, while they’re cool and all, using them can be prevented by nasty things like psychic hoods, or Eldar Farseers with stones (darn them panzees). Keep these in mind when attempting to use powers.
The biggest downside though, can be weighed in greenbacks. As there’s no Tervigon model, you’re left to convert one on your own. It seems most people are doing this out of a Carnifex and another sizable model (either a Tyrant or a Trygon)–if you don’t have the spare bitz available, you’ll be shelling out as much as $100 for one of these models to use for now. On top of that, you’ll need a slough of spare termies to use with them (armed with fleshborers, mind you). This’ll set you back another $50+ per Tervigon… All in all, this wil certainly be a costly model for alot of casual gamers that haven’t already sold their souls to GW.
The only upgrades I’d “purchase” for Tervies are Catalyst, and cluster spines (which is free). If you had spare points, you could also consider scything talons or crushing claws, but neither is necessary. Likewise, if you’re playing an Apoc game (with bio-titans), or with long-ranged shooty, onslaught can be an interesting choice. I suspect his ability to lend toxin sacs and adrenal glands to nearby gants will be enticing enough to convince some players–but I’m not convinced.
In my mind, Tervigons close to your termies are liabilities. Sure, it can grant much lauded abilities to your crappers for “free,” but you run the risk of decimating those units, should your Tervigon perish–and trust me, your opponent will be shooting your Tervigons. From where I stand, the best thing a Terv can do, is to take a dump of gaunts at max range, and have them move farther from him, then run/shoot as necessary. In the meantime, he can grant FNP to another nearby bug, or himself in a pinch. Essentially though, I look to Tervs as holding objectives in your deployment zone, protecting himself with FNP and walls of gaunts. He doesn’t belong on the front lines.
One cute strategy involves purchasing him as a troop, and then granting him outflank (courtesy of the Hive Tyrant). I’ve already gone into this before in my Swarmlord entry though, so I won’t go into it again here. In this strategy, he’s not really a front-line bug still–he just changes the angle of your deployment…
This is definitely one of those units where the pros drastically outweigh the cons. It’s clear that GW was looking to sell some models though, and if you’re lucky enough to already own them, the downsides are minimal. These guys are practically all up-side; so much so, in fact, that they put Carnifices to shame.
Sure, they don’t have long range firepower, and their stats aren’t quite as impressive in assault, but they can provide most of the same benefits–while granting synapse, additional scoring units, and feel no pain to surrounding units (courtesy of Catalyst). As if that wasn’t enough, you can purchase these as scoring units themselves (which is highly recommended, so they aren’t competing for HQ slots). Yes indeedy, move over Carnifex: make way for the codex MVP: The Tervigon.
So, if you have spare Carni models you’re not using (Sniperfex, anyone)? Feel free to rip it’s arms off, and convert it into something resembling a termapooper. You’ll be glad you did.
P.S. What are you planning on using for your Tervigon model? I’ve seen some cool conversions already:
- Goatboy’s Tervigon
- Hogs of War Tervigon
- Phil Kelly’s Tervigon
- Zen 40k’s Tervigon
- and my humble WIP contribution (formerly dubbed a “coiled carnifex”):
Certificate image borrowed from http://www.freeprintablecertificates.net.