5th Ed. Tyranids: The Parasite of Mortrex

I’d like to start today’s blog out with some simple travel tips:

  • If you travel to Mexico, don’t drink the water or you’ll get giardia. 
  • Before you travel to Africa, be sure to get your shots for fear of malaria.
  • When you go to England make sure they cook your beef thoroughly, or you might contract hoof-n-mouth.
  • And, if you know what’s good for you–stay the hell away from Mortrex.  Those bug’s’ll frickin’ kill you.

The Good

He’s a fast moving synapse creature with some really unique special rules.  His forte is really creating and controlling ripper swarms around the board, getting special rules that hurt outflankers (and make rippers), kill the enemy while ignoring armor saves/toughness (and make rippers), all the while he’s acting as a 24″ synapse for all rippers in the army.  I think I’m begining to see a pattern here.

His above average strength and weapon skill, coupled with his ability to inflict instant death on a 6 to hit, and armor on a 6 to wound, make him a reasonable choice for killing any infantry.  To a lesser extent, he could go toe-to-toe with any character (without Eternal Warrior) and stand a reasonable chance at winning.

The Bad

The bads aren’t really that bad.  First, comes a theory that economics students will be familiar with: opportunity cost.  Is 160 points excessive for a flying ripper-maker?  Well, if you consider that you can effectively purchase a Hive Tyrant or a Tervigon for the cost–is he worth that?  The only real advantage he has on a Tervigon is that he moves faster, but is all around an inferior choice: lower toughness & wounds, no FNP option, no MC bonus, incapable of getting upgrades,  and has to hurt other units (who then have to fail a save) before pooping out friends (which aren’t scoring).

His special rules are cleary the reason to take this choice–the problem is that mechanized armies are so prevalant, and he’s almost completely ineffective against tanks.  His “Sarge is acting strangely” has no effect on armored targets, and his lack of MC status makes cracking open them difficult.  Due to the current metagame of 40k, a colorful choice who is arguably worth the points cost will likely be relegated to the back shelf–at least until the metagame changes. 

The Ugly

I see the parasite as a more of a “theme” unit than a hardcore choice.  While it’s true that he could be good–you’re really depending on him rolling 6’s and then the opponent failing toughness tests.  Even then, you’re only throwing in a few extra ripper swarms (which I love, mind you, but most people scoff at).

Curiously enough, parasites depend upon other organisms to live, and in no other selection of the Tyranid HQ choices is this more true than this guy.  Most of them stand strong on their own, such as in the case of the three monstrous creatures: Tyrants, Tervigons, & Swarmlords (oh my!), and the Alpha Warrior has a higher toughness and a power weapon.

Because of this, this pied-piper of parasites will require a delivery method to insert him into the enemy effectively. Clearly, the most preferred method will be gargoyles, because of their newfound cheapness, coupled with their ability to fly.  Alternately, he could accompany flying rippers or flying warriors (and no, I won’t call them sky-slashers or shrikes).   Flying warriors seem too expensive to be an effective delivery method–though they would provide a tough assault force bodguard, but the rippers could be a good alternative. 

I’m not aware of any rules that prevent IC’s from joining units of swarms, so I don’t see why you couldn’t do this.  Flying rippers would provide slightly cheaper wounds per point, and significantly more attacks per point.  Though it’s feasible, I think gargoyles will be the easy choice.

That said, he’ll be best against armies with low toughness and bad armor saves (read: IG, Eldar, & Orks), and will also do well against outflanking units (though the army that seems to have the most outflankers in our gaming group is, ironically, Tyranids).   You’l want to steer clear of vehicles and/or elite armored units, in favor of weaker units.  The more swarms he can make, the more effective he’ll be in your army.

He’s also one of the few IC’s in the army, so in an Apoc game, he’s about the most dependable method of delivering a vortex grenade as well (it’s either him or a prime).  Not that I play many apoc games–but it was a piece of wargear I was looking into last time… 🙂

Ultimately, I think the parasite is going to be a great, fun option–especially for those of us with an affinity for ripper swarms.  Hardcore players will shy away from their use, but using him coupled with some tervigons, you’ll be making so many units that the enemy won’t know what to do about it.  I look forward to fielding one of these guys in the near future–I just need a model to use.  Hrmmm…

Image taken from a random blog online.  I couldn’t find an owner for the image, so no credit here; however, I would like to take a moment to recommend that nobody do a google image search for “parasite” as you’ll come up with some nasty images.


8 comments on “5th Ed. Tyranids: The Parasite of Mortrex

  1. “When you go to England make sure they cook your beef thoroughly…”I wasn't aware British “cuisine” had other options. :-p”he’ll be best against armies with low toughness and bad armor saves (read: IG, Eldar, & Orks)… You’ll want to steer clear of vehicles”Ironically, vehicles is what 2/3 of those armies tend to favor. Even the Orks take a few.”I would like to take a moment to recommend that nobody do a google image search for “parasite””Heh. I used to work at an ER. Trust me when I say that entymologists are a unique breed. Thankfully.

  2. you are wrong about rippers not being scoring. they are troop choices, and i dont see where they say they arent scoring, not in the codex or the main rulebook.

  3. It is the main rulebook page 90 under scoring units. Scoring units may not have the swarm special rule.As a note you need to check the rules for how the parasite inflicts instant death, I think that is on the roll to wound also.

  4. ah, good catch there. i didnt think to check that page.oh well, only time i plan on use the parasite is in games of planetstriker. DS him in, charge (since he can do that in PS), and spawn some rippers 😛

  5. It's worth noting the interaction between rending claws and implant attack means that he will autokill a lot of characters (bar an invulnerable save, of course), as they both trigger on a 6.With S6 and RC he actually performs reasonably well against vehicles- just not 160 pts well.I think his real issue (aside from being overcosted) is actually his IC status, lack of EW, and T4. Like so many ICs, a single hidden Power Fist effectively spells his doom against most squads, which makes him unsuitable for getting into a lot of assaults. Where he shines is when attacking rank-and-file models with low toughness and trying to spawn absurd numbers of units to tie things up/contest objectives with.I think Gargoyles are a superior delivery platform to Skyslashers, mainly because they can shoot the turn they arrive, whereas Skyslashers cannot. Also note that Gargoyles are only marginally more expensive (three wounds for 18 vs. three wounds for 15) and come base with pseudo-poison; they also do not have to worry about Instant Death attacks from Autocannons/Plasma/etc. On the charge, they have more attacks per point and have better stats almost across the board (and don't kill themselves for failing IB).Shrikes are the other delivery platform to consider- they have better saves and toughness compared to Gargoyles, but they lack somewhat in gross number of wounds. However, they can be kitted as close-combat specialists to go alongside the Parasite, dealing with whatever other targets are nearby or lending him a hand where necessary.

  6. Yeah, he's definitely too squishy to stand up to anything that he canauto-kill. Considering most characters have invulnerable saves and/or EW, Idon't think it'll be a very viable way of using him as a character killer(though on paper, it seems feasible). But he'll be a fun choicenone-the-less.Thanks, as always for the input, pups.

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