5th Ed. Tyranids: Tyrannofex

Who’s the biggest baddest bug of all?  Well, the “biggest” title is surely held by the Tyrannofex, King of the Bugs (not to be confused with the Lord of the Swarm, mind you).  Whether he deserves the title “baddest” all depends on whether you mean worst, or best… and a little matter of opinion thrown in as well.

The Good

It’s big.  No, I mean huge.   Six wounds at toughness six is really a common feature in the new codex, but the Tyrannofex is the only one that comes with a 2+ armor save standard–and that’s nothing to sneeze at.  Monstrous creatures are dying in droves to AP3 weaponry (nasty krak missiles…. hurting the precious). 

He comes with the standard upgrades for any of the force: Toxin Sacs & Adrenal glands.  He can also take regeneration (just in case your opponent wasn’t alread peeved about T6 with 6 wounds and the 2+ save).  In assault, he has no fancy weapons, but he’s a monstrous creature with 3 attacks, so really.. does he need one?

He also comes with a devastating variety of weapons.  By default he comes with a fairly lackluster assault 4 weapon and two flamer templates, but his real claim to fame is in his upgrades.  He can either equip a assault 20 gun for 10 points (no, that’s not a typo, it’s really assault 20), or for  +15 point upgrade: the Rupture Cannon.  This is the one long range tank-cracking gun available to the army: at 48″ and str10, it’s certainly the kind of gun to make your opponent think twice.  Oh, did I mention it’s an Assault 2 weapon? 

The Bad

As devastating as his guns sound, they just aren’t that impressive.  Without upgrades, he’s a gimp… so let’s take a look at his two guns.  The Fleshborer Hive (assault 20) is only strength 4… so he’s, in effect, armed the same as 20 termagants.  The downside here is he costs more than twice as much as those  gaunts and can’t capture objectives.  Sure, he’s more durable, but the point here is that the Nid army already has a bazillion things in it that can kill fodder.  Why pay big points for another fodder-killer?  Especially when Tervigons make that sorta thing for free!

The other gun option is clearly the better of the two choices, since ‘Nids are severely lacking in anti-tank (at a long distance especially).  Then we come into the real problem with this model: he’s only BS3.  This means he’ll (on average) hit once per turn.  Sure, it’s strength 10, and sure it’s likely to at least glance a vehicle, but the odds of doing something devastating really aren’t that impressive.  Consider that even against the weakest vehicles possible (av10), he only destroys them 25% of the time he shoots… for 265 points!

The alternative for anti-tank is to take Zoanthropes (who, by comparison, have a 44% per shot, and cost roughly a quater of the points–plus they’re synapse) or Hive Guard, or even Harpies.

So, for a T-Rex sized point cost, you wind up with some lackluster shooting.  In assault, with his lack of any of the new close combat weapons (that don’t count as close combat weapons, mind you)… and a strength of only 6, he doesn’t shine either.  Granted, a strength 6 is normally respectable, but everyone and his mother in the ‘Nid codex has strength 6.  For landraider points, I’d expect to see something with str10 in close combat as well.

The Ugly

The one thing he does really well is to soak up fire.  He won’t put out damage like the other shooters in the codex, and he won’t wade through multiple units in assault; however, he will stick around like nobody’s business.  If you’re going to run this guy, I recommend throwing regeneration and a rupture cannon on him and then forcing your opponent to take pot  shots.  

For some numbers:

  • It would take 65 shots from a marine with a missle launcher to take him out.
  • With a standard 4+ cover save, it would take 22 lascannon armed marines (or 29 guardsmen).
  • He’d live though 103 Leman Russes firing their battle cannons at him (though the 104th would kill him).

And those numbers don’t take into consideration the ability to regenerate (or the idea that the game can’t go more than 7 turns). 

Needless to say, he’s a tough nut to crack, and he is the only option for Tyranids anti-tank at long range.  Sadly, I think he’s dreadfully overpriced, and will provide a lackluster performance.  Not to mention the fact that GW doesn’t have a model for him.  I doubt I’ll ever take this guy, but I can see some people falling in love with the concept.  As a whole, if you see one, the best strategy is to ignore it in favor of things that are easier to kill.  I know I will…


7 comments on “5th Ed. Tyranids: Tyrannofex

  1. While at first I was all about this guy….. after fielding no less than 3 in a 2500 point game, I reveal my results….Ready for it?Are you sure?2 destroyed Rhinos, 1 immobilized land raider, and 2 destroyed Land Speeders…..From 3 in a 6 turn game.Yeah. Sounds good right?However, none of them died.

  2. Yeah, I think if you're looking for lots of boom, it's best to lookelsewhere… but they do live a LONG time though.One thing I forgot to add as a negative is that their rupture cannon is onlyap4. So when it runs out of vehicles to target, it makes for a fairlyhorrendous gun for taking out infantry. I honestly don't know what theywere smoking when they gave a str10 weapon ap4…

  3. Damn… I was hoping to read this and find that you'd thought of some great ways of using this incredibly expensive monster. Oh well…Good article though: nice to see some of the numbers, and also nice to have the 'good' points emphasized. He really is tough.

  4. Personally, I'm not a fan, but I can see why some people might like 'em.One of my friends is in love with the unit, but I think it's mostly becausehe found a purpose for some of those old Armorcast models he's had shelvedforever. 😉

  5. I think the key to using the Tyrannofex is larger games and supporting a full set of Elites. Zoanthropes have a lot of issues, not the least of which being that they'll usually only kill one thing before being Boltered to death. Tyrannofexes don't have this problem; as noted in the article, they're nearly impossible to stop. At larger point values, like 2K and 2500, this becomes very important, as you can see the kind of massed concentration of fire that simply doesn't exist at smaller levels.He is super-expensive, but you get a really good gun on a platform that can't be stunned, shaken, weapon destroyed, or have firepower easily dumped onto it to get rid of it.

  6. that was my thought as well puppy. however, in my above example, i took 3 squads of 3 zoans and they were far more effective, even though 6 of them died. at 2500 points (or even 2k) they are great for survivability, but when you play against smart players, you get 6 shots off, 3 hit, and 1-2 are negated by cover. it becomes VERY difficult to use them effectively. and like most other players, they were ignored for the most part while the Zoans both shot and were shot at.Given I was playing against a very mech heavy list against a good player, and in the end, I won, but it was not because of the Fex's. the MVPs even in that game were the zoans. they killed a lot more before dieing than the fex's did even though the fexs survived.

  7. He is kind of like a larger carnifex that has devourers and HVC. Early on he is making pot shots with the big gun, and as he gets closer you readjust your targets and start mopping infantry. The T-fex is a very versatile unit, he suffers from not doing any one thing well. My main problem is that the rupture cannon should atleast be AP3. I hit a marine with what would have been a S15 shot against a landraider, and a 3+ shrugged it off.I plan on taking two in my list for redundancy (and point sink) and tag some venomthropes with them. In my first game with one, it took a Hive Tyrant and an Alpha warrior two full turns of combat to kill him.

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