8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Hive Tyrants

In my first unit review of the 8th edition Tyranid Index, I’m quickly realizing that comparing stat lines on Monstrous Creatures to the previous edition is going to be difficult.  This is because the new edition introduces a damage table, wherein the stats of creatures are affected as they get closer to death.  For example, the Hive Tyrant’s WS goes from 2+ to 4+ depending upon how wounded he is.  Ignore the fact that I already have to include a layer of abstraction for the fact that WS is no longer merely a number, and this becomes difficult to assess.


Let’s start with the stuff that’s easy:  Save and Leadership remain unchanged, and I don’t expect that to make much difference.  Strength and Toughness also remain unchanged, but I do think that has some bearing on the way the game is played.

This is because wounds are made on a new damage chart.  As the bulk of models in the game seem to be T3 or T4, this means that the Tyrant will be wounding things like Space Marines on a 3+ instead of a 2+ that he used to.  Toughness of 6 means that bolter fire also hurts her on a 5+ instead of a 6+ as it did previously.  By keeping these the stats the same, she deals less damage to basic troops and takes more damage from them.  Ouch.

As for the other stats, I think it’s fair to say that Move and WS are an improvement over what they were in 7th edition.  In both of these cases, she’s at least as effective as she was in 7th edition until she’s down to her last two wounds.    Attacks are also up by one, but this is misleading.  Her prehensile pincher tail indicates that it takes one of her attacks each combat.  Plus, you don’t get an extra attack for having an extra hand to hand combat weapon (though scything talons do have innately +1 attack), nor do you get +1 for charging.  Again, this is a difficult one to judge, but I’d say it’s likely a wash.

BS is very similar to the previous edition, wherein she hits everything with the same accuracy as she did previously, unless she’s down to two or fewer wounds.

Wounds themselves are drastically up from where they were (more than double), but I don’t know how to feel about this.  One would logically intuit that more wounds would equal more survivability, but as we’ve already witnessed, she is actually more easily wounded by bolter fire (twice as likely, in fact).  And with weapons that do multiple wounds, she could theoretically die two as few as two lascannon shots.  Of course, they’re only wounding on 3’s now, and she does get an invulnerable save (more on this in a moment), and often will get a normal armor save against weapons like lascannons–which previously ignored her armor completely!

The point is, there’s so many factors to include when it comes to durability, I think we’ll have to play a few games to figure it out.  If I had to answer now, I would say that she’s likely *slightly* more durable than she was in the previous edition.


The basic army-wide rules are largely the same.  I went over them in an earlier post, so I won’t cover these in detail.  Suffice it to say that she still has Shadow in the Warp and Synapse (and is the one model that keeps the original 12″ range in the codex).  She also has two new abilities called Death Throes and Psychic Barrier.

Psychic Barrier gives her an innate 5+ invulnerable save, so that’s got to count for something.  It can only really help to improve her durability though.  Gone is the insanity of flying monstrous creatures, but let’s face it–those were ridiculous.  That’s basically the only way people ran Tyrants before though, so it’s going to be truly difficult to compare her against the new iteration.

Death Throes is a fluffy piece that gives her a 1 in 6 chance of doing d3 mortal wounds to nearby units (Friend or foe).  It’s not likely to happen, so this is probably the sort of thing you forget about when actually playing.


She still comes stock with scything talons, but also has a tail included in her profile.  As stated earlier, the tail eats up one of her attacks, but the wargear list (p141) shows that Scything Talons (monstrous or otherwise) give you an extra attack for having two pairs of them.

For weapon options she can take items from the Monstrous Biocannons or Monstrous Bio-weapons lists (p85).  That includes Rending claws, bone swords, lashwhip/bonesword, deathspitters, devourers, stranglethorn cannons and heavy venom cannons.  These options are exactly the same as they were in the old edition (well, the same in name at least–if not effectiveness.  Except the deathspitter is now called “two deathspitters with slimmer maggots.”)

Most of these options seems to be roughly comparable to their old versions.  For the deathspitters/devourers, there may be some debate.  Page 85 says they can have “two deathspitters” as one choice and page 140 lists the option as “Deathspitter” (singular).  In my understanding, you’d actually have to buy two of these, which would give you effectively assault 6 (with the ability to split the fire as necessary).  So you’d still have 12 shots total, without the re-roll to hit, but you do get to split the fire up.

For shooting weapons, I think the deathspitter with slimmer maggots is going to be a strong choice (strong enough that there’s really no reason to run devourers–less strength with no modifier to AP for only 3 points less–per gun).  Stranglethorn cannons might be ok for the longer range, but otherwise the weapon profile isn’t significantly different but it will tend to have fewer shots, so I don’t see that as a strong choice.  Heavy venom cannons might be doable though–with S9, they’ll be wounding even the heaviest of vehicles on a 3+, which is about as good as it gets.

Points Cost:

Oh lord.  Can I say now that the points values and layout of these books was created by a retarded baboon?  I have to look in four different places to cost out a Tyrant, and it’s incredibly difficult to do.  Stock she comes to 185 points (hopefully GW doesn’t ban my blog because I said that), and that’s 20 points more than she was in the previous edition.

Nobody ran stock tyrants though, so to compare, a flyrant with brainleech worms is now 198 points whereas it was previously 230.  So, in some cases she’s more expensive and some less.  Brainleech worms lost their reroll though, so I’m not sure you’ll see much of that configuration in the future…

Points are one of those really weird areas that I can’t compare against because I don’t have enough knowledge.  It all depends upon effectiveness for their points, and I’ve never played with them, so I can’t speak to that.  More on this later, I’m sure.

Other Changes:

Since “flying” is gone, she’s just slightly faster in moving (unless you compare to “swooping” in the previous edition, in which case she’s a fair bit slower).  Additionally, you no longer requre 6’s to hit her–nor can she voluntarily jink, so flyrants are no where near as durable as they once were.

Psychic powers.  Again, I won’t go into this gain because I ‘ve already gone over it, but she is limited

She’s a character and the new rules for characters say they can effectively hide in a unit (p179)–except if they have 10 or more wounds.  So, she can’t hide, but I figure that it’s worth mentioning here because this is something that might be overlooked.

Toxin Sacs and Adrenal glands are still available, though I don’t know that I’d bother buying either with the new rules as they provide minor situational benefits–but perhaps if you had 4 or 5 points to burn?   The biomorphs for Regeneration and Acid Blood are no longer available for this unit (and may be completely unavailable in the index–I haven’t gotten that far).

Like most units, she’s lost a little flavor and customizability.  She no longer can get upgrades like Thorax weapons, Hive Commander, Indescribable Horror, or Old Adversary.  While some might bemoan these changes, I rarely ever used them, so it’s not a big loss for me.  Also, one would expect in a complete reset/simplification of the game, that some things will have to go.  Personally, I would consider these acceptable losses–though I wouldn’t be surprised to see these released again once the codices start rolling out.


It’s so hard to give an overall grade to a model that has so many features that are up in the air.  With the statline changes, I would expect that you’ll see more of these guys go with an assault variant than you have in the past–but you can’t completely discount those deathspitters.

Gone are the days where they swoop around, impervious to damage, due to being flyers.  I think we can all agree that making flyers more reasonable to hit is a good thing though.

I think she likely got a little more durable, though there is now a big swing factor as she could theoretically die to as few as two lascannon shots.   For 10 power, she seems like a reasonable option in the HQ slot.  Time will tell if she’s a competitive option though…




8 comments on “8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Hive Tyrants

  1. I really liked your write up! Ive played 3 games so far with 8th edition rules and every game ive included 3 flyrants with the deathspitters with slimer maggots. 12 shots each. So far, ive discovered then to be solid choices. If you have them go together, their combined firepower and smite can get stuff done. You want something else in your opponents face at the same time-personally I use a trygon and a unit of 20 stealers popping up turn one to force target choices. Their ability to fall back and still shoot helps the flying version alot too. Personally I think they are a good choice but perhaps taken only after other hqs are, like the tervigon, swarmlord, and broodlord.

    • Thanks. Between the time that I wrote this up and it went live, I actually played a game (and sat relatively near someone else playing another), so my views have changed a little on this. Deathspitters do seem good–I went with Devourers as it was a rehash of a 7th edition game, but there’s no advantage for them over the ‘spitters now. Synapse makes more of a difference than I originally thought as well.

      Flyrants as a whole don’t seem as integral to the army as they once were–and I’m happy about that. My Tervigon really seemed like a tank. I didn’t get to try Tervigons, but deep striking seems amazing over all. The nearby game included Mawlocs and Tervigons and ended up tabling his opponent in turn 2. That was impressive, though I certainly hope it’s an outlier.

      • I agree that flyrants arent necessary at all-if you dont want them, then you certainly dont have to bring them. But if you want them I dont think you are short siding yourself if you bring them.

      • Have you tried running a close combat flyrant yet? I’d be curious how they’d fare… or how using another gun works with them. Both of the bigger cannons seem notably better than they were in the previous edition.

        On Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 10:51 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. I have not done either yet. Heavy venom cannon, while better then last edtion, seems pretty meh to me. If it was -2 ap id be fine with it. If i tried a melee tyrant id do monstrous rending claws for the re-roll to wound. Seems really big against tough 7-8 models

    • I actually forgot about the re-roll on my broodlords. The multiple wounds and high armor modifier was enough to entice me though.

      On Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 4:45 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  3. Some random points:
    – Wings also let you get at dudes hiding up in higher levels of Ruins, and ignore Terrain that can otherwise block MCs.
    – Combat Tyrants seem like they can be vicious now. I’m thinking just ScyTals, myself. A flat 3 Damage, and re-rolling 1s on a 2+ to Hit, is pretty sweet.
    – I tried the Venom Cannon. Better than it was, but still pretty meh.
    – Difficult to evaluate the Tyrant without taking Tyrant Guard into account. They help vastly with her durability, basically just adding on an extra 3 Wounds each. And unlike some Bodyguard Units (particularly Tau Drones), they’re not particularly easier to gun down than the Tyrant herself, especially since they can get Cover more easily.
    – I forgot about both the 5++ and the fact that she has to make one Attack with the tail in my Game. The former would have really helped in her duel with Belial.

    • I overlooked the “unless they can fly” caveat about monstrous creatures in ruins. I suppose that might come in handy…

      On Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 6:36 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


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