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.
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?
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!
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 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…