Battle Report: Tyranids vs. Orks (1500 points)

My most recent game was a pick-up-game against Cole. I brought entirely too many Tyranids and thankfully, Cole broughtw his Orks (I was cringing when he challenged me tto a game, because his favorite army is his Grey Knights)…

Cole’s Green Tide

  • HQ: Big Mek w/ forcefield, Klaw, & Rokkit
  • Elites: 10x Lootas
  • Troops: 30x Boyz w/ 3x Big Shootas & Klaw
  • Troops: 30x Boyz w/ 3x Big Shootas & Klaw
  • Troops: 8x Nobs (tooled up for wound allocation)
  • Troops: Deff Dread w/ Big shootas, armor, & Grots
  • Heavy: 3x Kans w/ Rokkits
  • Heavy: 3x Kans w/ Big Shootas
  • Heavy: 3x Kans w/ Grotzookas

I don’t think there’s anything terribly surprising here. Build a wall of armor, and give them all cover with the forcefield. Tool of Nobz for would allocation shenanigans, then put in a bunch of boyz with a hidden powerfist. I’d say this is probably a pretty competitive Ork list. I’m sure he could make it more vicious (perhaps by standardizing weapons on his Kans?), but I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little dismayed by all of those walkers…

My Winged Tyranid Swarm

  • HQ: Flying Tyrant w/ Heavy Venom Cannon
  • Elites: Doom in a Pod
  • Elites: 2x Hive Guard
  • Troops: Tervigon w/ Catalyst
  • Troops: 10x Termagants
  • Fast Attack: 20x Gargoyles
  • Fast Attack: 20x Gargoyles
  • Fast Attack: 4x Shrikes w/ Sword/Whip/Talons
  • Heavy: Trygon Prime w/ Poison Sacs
  • Heavy: Biovore
  • Heavy: Biovore

I don’t use a ton of strategy when putting my lists together. In this instance, I wanted to see a couple of things:

  1. How effective are gargoyles when used ‘en masse’?
  2. How effective are raveners as a subsitute for Trygons?

Sadly, I can’t really test both of those things at the same time, so I’ll have to try out the raveners later…

The list came together like this: 20 gargoyles? Check. Let’s double that. Then, if I’m using gargoyles, I might as well use the Flyrant and a small squad of Shrikes. Check to make sure I have a Doom in a pod (mandatory requirement in all Tyranid lists). Well, how about hive guard instead of Zoanthropes? I don’t use them that much… for troops I’ll take a squad of Termagants so I can buy a Tervigon (I’d forgotten that was a requirement to make the Tervigon a troop choice–not just to play with them at all). And with a few hundred points at the end, I added a Trygon prime, and the rest of the spare points went to the biovores (since they were on the same page as the Trygon).

That’s about as savvy as my choices get. Scarey, eh?

The Game:

Seeing as there were a few hundred models between us, despite Cole winning the role and having to setup first, I went ahead and started setting up my models with him.

Cole’s reponse: “You’re weird.”

I don’t see why that is though. First of all, it was a friendly game, so the ultimate outcome wouldn’t mean much, and secondly, even if I wanted to react to his deployment with my own, I would be within my rights to do so. Actually, this might wind up being a better tactical solution. By placing models in certain locations I might be able to trick him into deploying a certain way—and then move my pieces afterwards to compensate?

Anywho, Cole setup as a wall of tin cans with a Big Mek/forcefield to give effectively his entire army cover. My list wasn’t designed with any theme in mind, so I just put the birdies (aka gargoyles) in front, and piled stuff behind them. For strategy, I didn’t have a great tactical plan here. My thoughts during deployment:

  • The biovores need to be in cover but have an unobstructed view of their targets.
  • The Hive Guard should remain completely out of sight to prevent being shot.
  • Everything else should hide behind the birdies in order to get cover.

That was my grand strategy…

Turn 1:

The orks surged forward and opened up with a massive round of whiffing. This round they did manage to put a single wound on the Western biovore (on top of the ruin), and kill somewhere south of five gargoyles.

In return, I didn’t do much. One biovore had gone to ground (not so much to avoid giving up a kill point, but more to give him a distraction to shoot at in later turns), and the other biovore had hit a squad of boyz, killing half a dozen or so. The Hive guard proved to be out of range, my Tervigon suffered perils giving Catalyst to the nearby gargoyles, and the Hive Tyrant followed the Orks in his accuracy (which is to say he did nothing this turn).

KP TOTAL: Orks: 0 Tyranids: 0

Turn 2:

The Orks were mildly more successful with their shooting this turn. They still focused heavily on my Biovores, and managed to kill the one that had gone to ground in the previous turn (he opted not to go to ground this turn, but with my poor rolling, that wouldn’t have mattered anyway). Elsewhere they picked off 8 more birdies between the two squads.

On my turn, the Doom dropped down, along with the Trygon—so all of my reserves were in. I forgot to shoot with the Trygon (and losing 12 shots at 18” is rather foolish), while the Doom proved to be rather lack-luster. I did more damage with his drop pod than he managed to do—only skimping a single wound with his life-leech effect. He managed to redeem himself with his Demolisher cannon impression though, taking himself back up to 9 wounds at the expense of a nearby boyz mob.

KP TOTAL: Orks: 1 Tyranids: 0

Turn 3:

Things got aggressive quickly at this point. His Western unit of kans had moved Southward and killed all but one Gargoyle (brave little fool, that he was), while the rest of the kans and nobz pushed forward to my line, killing the remaining Biovore. Elsewhere, the boys proved they could hit the broadside of a barn (if it falls from space and spits out an angry psychic bug), by killing my mycetic spore, and the rest of his force peppered the Doom with shots. In assault, the Doom fought bravely, but wasn’t able to withstand the incoming attacks of two kans and a dreadnought (though it was the very last die that managed to kill him… So close!) While all this happened, his other squad of boys charged foolishly into the Trygon and did a single wound.

My ensuing countercharge ensured that the boys died in droves—as I’d done more than enough wounds to kill every one. Cole, rules expert that he is, pulled wound allocation shenanigans to make sure that his Nob lived through the combat to kill off two shrikes that had charged in. Bah, I can’t wait for that rule to change…

Elsewhere, my Flyrant came to the aid of his little birdy friend, and ripped the weapons off the entire squad of kans—but that didn’t stop them from squishing that last gargoyle. All in all, a truly ugly turn for my KP total…

KP TOTAL: Orks: 5 Tyranids: 1

Turn 4:

The lootaz, sensing impending doom, managed to put their weapons into overdrive and smote the Trygon handily—leaving two unhappy shrikes on their own. For kicks, Cole threw the rest of his shots into them, and killed off one, reducing the last shrike to just one wound left.

On the other half of the board, his kan wall advanced, but I kept retreating to keep him out of charge range…

On my turn, my shrike gave me the moral victory that I was waiting for. He single-handed charged the lootaz and did a single unsaved wound in combat. In return, they managed to do—nothing. Cole then failed his ensuing leadership check (by one), and then failed to break away, so my lone Shrike ran him down. Gotta love it when something terribly random like this happens (well, at least when it happens in your favor).

Meanwhile, my remaining gargoyles under covering fire from the Tervigon & Hive Guard charged into the Nobz. They didn’t do all that much damage, but they at least tied him up.

KP TOTAL: Orks: 6 Tyranids: 2

Turn 5:

After several turns in combat with those infernal Kans, my Hive Tyrant finally stopped ripping arms off them/immobilizing them, and finally killed them, allowing him to reach combat with the Nobz, but not until next turn. Meanwhile, my Tervigon charged into the nearby Kans to distract them from my birdies…

On the other side of the battlefield, Cole brought entirely too much weaponry to bear, and my mighty shrike had fallen.

This would’ve bothered me, except I know that his biomass would eventually be collected by the hive and he would be reborn stronger and better than before. The six-million-dollar-shrike, if you will.

KP TOTAL: Orks: 7 Tyranids: 6

Turn 6:

The Tervigon, Tyrant, gargoyles, and a nearby spawned group of termagants solidly beat down the Nobz (though the last Kan tied up the Tervigon for another turn), and the Hive Guard & Flyrant pushed towards the Orks and such that were cowering in the Western woods. The Tervigon, learning all he knows about fighting from the mighty Tyrant, proceeded to spend several rounds ripping arms off and immobilizing the Kan, preferring to toy with it’s prey over killing it…

KP TOTAL: Orks: 7 Tyranids: 6

Turn 7:

The Tervigon finally grew bored of playing with it’s food, and killed the last kan. The rest of the battle moved to the Western flank, where I’d managed to kill off the ork Deff-dread, but not the boys (who had counter assaulted me) or the killer kan.

I seem to recall that I lost this game, but in hindsight, I’m not sure how that happened. Going back through the game and the pics, it actually looks like I managed to pull out a draw at the last moment… Can that be?

KP TOTAL: Orks: 7 Tyranids: 7

A TIE !?!

What I Learned:

  1. Kill points definitely weren’t working towards my advantage—as I had a bunch of smaller, fragile squads. I tend to build an army by just throwing things into it and seeing how they do. Cole’s army was much more engineered with lots of solid choices. In hindsight, when I look at my composition, I notice that my list wasn’t well thought out for winning KP games (lots of disposable, weak units), nor did it appear particularly adept at winning objective missions (only two troop choices). I think most people will look at it and agree that it doesn’t look like the sort of army that would table you either.So maybe I should build armies that are designed with the victory conditions in mind? I say phooie to that, preferring to mix up my options every game. Though I played with a lot of inferior choices, I think I did pretty well for myself.
  2. One place I lacked in this list was armor punching. That shouldn’t be any surprise with Tyranids (especially when shooting). I had exactly three guns that could realistically do anything to even a killer kan. Normally, I’d fall back on genestealers or Monstrous creatures to fill that role—but this list was very light on both of those (zero in the case of ‘stealers). While it was unfortunate that Cole gave me a line of Kans to shoot at, I was actually lucky there wasn’t tougher armor to get through in this game. I’m not sure this is a flaw in this list so much, as it’s a flaw in the Tyranid codex…
  3. I have to shoot with the Trygons. Heck, even if I just fleet with him (though that would’ve been the wrong answer for sure). Trygon primes can pump out a fair amount of firepower, and surely he would’ve done enough damage to the Lootaz to prevent them from killing him outright. Silly me….
  4. Gargoyles are pretty decent. They don’t have any real damage output to speak of (though with poisoned attacks and/or adrenal glands, this might change). They did pretty well as a screening unit–especially when given feel no pain. I think if they were accompanied by both a Tervigon and a Venomthrope, they could be pretty annoying to opponents. I might have to try this sometime…

8 comments on “Battle Report: Tyranids vs. Orks (1500 points)

  1. First thought: Woohoo! Tyranids again! And very pretty they look too, all massed together.

    Just for future information, the Nobz only count as troops when a warboss is taken (and makes a single unit of them so). Normally they are elites. Not that it would have made any difference in this battle.

    Do you have any photos of your shrikes? Are they converted with normal gargoyle wings? They look about the same size, from what I can see, and from the distance/angle the photos are taken from they look perfectly good to me. I’d be interested to see them in more detail.

    • Actually, I brought out the Tyranids special for you. I realized that I can’t do a proper revisit of the 5th edition book without giving them a test drive again (it’s been too long), so my future games should focus on these for a while.

      Thanks for the tip about Nobz. I’m sure he played it right, and I just wrote it down wrong, as he’s a super honest guy, and really good with the rules.

      As for shrike photos, I actually took a bunch recently. I put the Nidz out on a table and photographed everything, so expect those posts scattered over the year). In the meantime, there are pictures of the wings here:

      Oddly enough, I really don’t have pics of them anywhere on the blog though. You’re right in that they’re gargoyle wings, but I didn’t convert them–I just magnetized them, so I can use them interchangably as warriors or shrikes. Originally, I was going to use dark pegasus wings for them all (pic here:, but GW stopped selling those bits–bastards.

      I’ll email you some shrike pics I took though.

      • Ah cool. I did a quick search and found that article, but glanced through and didn’t see any pics of models with the wings, and just assumed that the gargoyle wings were meant for the gargoyles – I didn’t read it thoroughly enough to see that you’d mentioned magnetising them.

        How does that work out? Do you have bare magnets sticking out the back when they’re normal warriors? Have you painted over them? Or do swap wings for a pair of (magnetised) arms?

        Ah- just seen the photos of them. They do look pretty cool. For some reason the small wings don’t look too small. When you try to imagine them flying it’s a bit harder, but for models stalking along the ground, they don’t look weird having those sized wings sticking out the back. Do you have any photos of them from the back? I’d like to see how you’ve attached them. If they look as good as they do from the front, then dilemma solved – that’s what I’ll do with mine.

        What have you done with your spare, wingless gargoyles?

        I’m looking forward to more tyranid related goodness in the months ahead!

      • I don’t think I took any pictures of them during the creation process from behind, but no: they don’t have any magnets standing off their backs. I drilled each magnet into them, and then I should’ve smoothed them over with some green stuff or other putty, but I didn’t. As a result, you can see small circles ont heir backs where the magnets don’t quite line up. You can see this in the following photo:

        The circle isn’t ridiculous, but I really should’ve taken the effort to clean it up before painting/dipping.

        I was with you on the wings. Originally I just knew that gargoyle wings would look far too small on warriors, but I must’ve saw someone else do it and decided they didn’t look so bad. I’d agree that they don’t look like they can carry the warriors for any long stretches, but realistically, they just fly across the board, and then those little flappers get plenty of rest as they’re eating the enemy…

        As for what I did with the spare gargoyle bits? They’re in a box, taking up space. I haven’t come up with any grand ideas there–if you do, be sure to let me know.

  2. LOL! Thought for sure you lost that game after I left.

    Nice work. Your army looks pretty bad-ass.

    We should get in a game at some point, having never played you before. I’ve been painting hordes of Necron Warriors.

    • The thing is, I was pretty sure I’d lost it too–even now, I’m not sure how I would’ve pulled off a tie, but the results seem accurate. Coke will show up eventually to remind me of the truth though.

      Would love to lose to you sometime. Oddly, there are a bunch of people I’ve never played against: you, cody, mangles, etc. Heck–most anyone from the Muldoon apoc games or that plays at the church.

      This summer I think I’m going to try and drop by the church a couple of times to get a game in.

      You’re still painting ‘Crons? How is it you don’t have enough yet?

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Hmm… There doesn’t seem to be a reply button to your last post..,

    Anyway: the magnet rings really aren’t very noticeable as far as I can see. I agree with you on the ‘flapping across the battlefield’ thing. I think that’s why I don’t think they look ridiculous, despite being small. I can’t imagine them soaring through the air for days on end, but for short jumps they look at least as reasonable as many other things in the science-fantasy universe that is 40K.

    The spare gargoyle bits I’ve only just started thinking about, but I might have an idea. My ‘Queen Termagant’ (counts as Tervigon) idea is now cancelled, because despite the fact that I think the design of it (a converted carnifex) is better than the new tervigon model, it just isn’t big enough for my tastes – now that I’ve seen the new model anyway.

    Although I like the size, and the body, head and hind legs, I don’t like the spawning sack or the odd middle legs or weird scything talons (the talons don’t look bad, they just look weird attached to this model). I still want to go for something that looks like a massive Termagant though. So I’m going to try to find some arms from within the Tyranid range – possibly from Tyranid warriors – to give the tervigon diddly small but still ‘normal’ arms. And to balance the model I’m going to need to create some sort of egg sack/abdomen behind the legs. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do this yet. (I bought one of the WFB goblin arachnarok spiders hoping to take its abdomen, but I don’t think it will work.) Possibly I’ll have lots of eggs (possibly modeled from pistachio nut shells) hanging from the tail almost like strings of frogspawn. The point I’m getting to is that the rather slim and spindly (and wingless) gargoyles might look good bursting out of some of these eggs – either while they’re attached to the tervigon, or from eggs that have fallen to the ground.

Have something to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.