Before the codex was released, GW put out a few models as teasers on their blog, which showed some great models (like the Trygon & Hive Guard) and some that weren’t so great (*cough* Venomthrope). One of the cooler looking models was certainly the Pyrovore, as he looked like a beefier version of the Biovore, and was rumored to have flamer and to be a bit of a beast in hand to hand. Then the codex came…
I toyed with the idea of not even including a “Good” section with my evaluation of this unit. In internet speak, Pyrovores are morst certainlly “full of fail,” but there must be some positives to the unit (besides a relatively good looking model).
For starters, it does have one of the only flamer templates in the entire army, aside from Hive Tyrant thorax mounted weapons and termagant stranglewebs (neither of which is very good). True to the rumors, it also has a power weapon (in the form of Acid Maw), and a better armor save than most Tyranids.
The unit was really designed to die, and that’s one thing that it does fairly well. In dying, it’s also supposed to hurt the enemy, with both it’s Acid Blood and the rules for Volatile. Unfortunately, Volatile only triggers on attacks that cause ID (so Str8+), and unless it’s surrounded by fellow tyranids, I don’t forsee it being shot at with such high priority weapons.
It can also take a mycetic spore, which is actually the best thing it has going for it. This way you can ensure it’s in close to the enemy… and that’s the best place for it to be when it dies.
I really don’t know where to begin. Conceptually, I love the idea of a living bomb that runs into the enemy and explodes; however, in execution, this just misses the mark completely. He has neither the survivability to get across the field, the damage output to be threatening to your opponent, nor the reliability (or potentency) if he does die in combat against your foes.
Their statline is comparable to a space marine with inferior WS, BS, and leadership, no special rules, less attacks… oh, and they get a power weapon. All for three times the price. Hrm… not an easy sell here…
If you field these, the only way people will go out of their way to shoot them is if they’re near your other units–for a chance to blow a huge hole in your army.
I almost thought I was on to something there: you could potentially use them in the thick of your army and *MAYBE* someone will take pot shots at it with str8+ weaponry. This would mean that’s one less heavy weapon firing at your monstrous creatures though, right?
A reasonable enough theory, except these guys simply cost too much to use as bait, and will take a good chunk of your gaunts with them as they die (well, half the time, at least). Even if you could ignore the (potential) collatoral damage caused in the explosion, just the raw points invested in the pyrovore himself are completely inefficient. There are just a few units in the codex who pay more points per str8 hit than this guy, all of which are vastly superior to him.
I s’pose the intent here is to use it against hordes, where the flamer template and up to 6″ explosion upon death can maximize damage. Sadly, there are just too many other units that are better at killing hordes than this (including biovores). For serious battles, the only purpose I can see to use these critters is for Apocalypse games, when you can get flank march and run right into the heart of the enemy. They won’t really do much damage, but they could cause some chaos in the ranks as they start the charge. Perhaps their ability to explode will cause irrational fear in your opponents when they crash in behind the lines?
Whether or not you’re playing Apocalypse, the Pyrovore is clearly the red-headed step-child of this codex. Some people will insist on playing with them for spite, but anyone with a lick of sense will use them for what they’re good for. Taking a spot on the shelf for three more years until 6th edition, when GW doubles their pricetag (in $) and makes them the best unit in the new codex.
Until then, take a tip from Frankenstein: FIRE BAD!
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