8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Tervigons

My 8th Edition Tyranid Index Review continues with HQ’s that I’ve already played.  Keep in mind that at the time I’m writing these, I haven’t played many games of 8th.  Granted, with my release schedule for posts, by the time this goes live, I hope to have quite a few games under my belt.  So, take these posts with a grain of salt.

My goal here, as with all of these review posts is to try to compare/contrast each unit between the latest edition and it’s predecessor.  I’m moving on to the Tervigon here, as this is the only other HQ I’ve played with to this point.

Statline:

Like our friend, the Hive Tyrant, and all other 10+ wound critters, the Tervigon gets reduced in effectiveness over time.  So it’s hard to do a direct comparison of her between editions, but we’ll do what we can.

The easiest stats to start with are Save and attacks, as these both remain unchanged since the previous edition.  Technically that’s true, but armor is a little better in this edition, so even keeping her 3+ is a bit of a buff for the old broad.

The other stats that don’t change as she gets wounded are her leadership, and her Strength / Toughness / Wounds.  For her leadership, she lost a point, but I don’t see this being a big deal.  Firstly, she’s a synapse creature, and she can’t form a unit, so she can’t take morale tests.  The other purpose for leadership in the previous edition involved psychic powers, which is no longer the case in 8th.  Practically speaking, though she lost a point of leadership, I can’t see how that is at all relevant.

The bigger items are, of course, Strength and Toughness.  She, like all creatures on the big base, seems to have picked up a point of strength.  A bump from 6 to 7 means that she now wounds T3 models on a 2+ and T6 on a 3+.  She lacks the attacks to really deal with the hordes that are likely behind those t3 wounds, so that’s not a big bonus–but T6 is fairly prevalent on light vehicles and monstrous creatures, so that’s a nice little perk.

Toughness 8 though is definitely the sweet spot.  T9 is obviously better when dealing with things like powerfists and melta guns, but only getting wounded on 4+ from these items (and still getting a save, no less) is HUGE!  When coupled with an upgrade to 14 wounds, she’s a mega tank.  Granted, she can’t put out huge amounts of damage, but she should be able to anchor the center of your army for synapse.

The three stats that adjust over time are her Move, WS, and BS.  Her move starts out faster than she was in the last edition, so she should be able to keep up with your army to provide that synapse, but as she gets wounded, she slows to a crawl.  Realistically, that’s about on par with the rest of the big bugs I’ve seen so far.  WS and BS start off where she was in the past edition and then slowly fall over time.  Without many attacks or a great gun, this shouldn’t be too terrible though.

For her stats, she’s a little faster, a little stronger, and A LOT tougher than she ever was before.  I’m putting this solidly in the buff column.

Abilities:

She’s a synapse creature, yadda, yadda, yadda.  More on that in the basic overview of the Index Review here.  She still is able to spawn termagants, but this has changed since the previous edition in a few ways:

  1. She doesn’t roll to spawn.  When she opts to use this rule, she automatically spawns 10 guys.
  2. If you want to spawn a new unit, you need to reserve points / power at the beginning of your game to enable you to do so (I’m assuming people are playing “Matched play” by default.  See rulebook214 for more info.
  3. Replacing dead models in an existing unit does not require additional points being spent.
  4. She never spawns out (at least when replacing units).  She can keep going the entire battle–so, unless an enemy can kill at least 11 termagants in a turn, she can keep a unit effectively at full strength for the entire game.  Too bad they can’t tarpit…

She also has the Brood Progenitor and Synaptic Backlash abilities as well.  These abilities now only affect a 6″ bubble (half the range from 7th edition) and similarly buff and debuff ‘gants within that range.  Brood Progenitor no longer gives them counter-attack, but instead gives them the ability to re-roll 1’s to hit with ranged weapons.  Backlash still kills gaunts, but instead of attacking each with 3d6 hits, it now merely kills off d6 of them, making the downside far less nasty.

Weapons:

For weapons, she comes with the Stinger Salvo by default–which is unchanged except that it’s now AP -1.  She can no longer upgrade to the Cluster Spines though.  With the omission of templates in the new edition, paying extra points for what would almost certainly be d6 shots at the same strength and no AP modifier would not be a worthwhile “upgrade.”

In assault, she has massive scything talons, which attack at her base strength (7), -3 armor, and cause D6 wounds.  Despite not having a large number of attacks, she can pump out as many as 18 wounds per turn in assault, so your enemy is going to have to respect that.  She doesn’t have a great weapon skill, but at least she gets +1 to hit with these claws.

She can also upgrade to Massive Crushing Claws.  These simply double her strength in trade off for -1 to hit.  If you do the math, you’ll find that the stock talons are better than the claws against T6 and below.  Against T7, the claws nudge ahead barely by 3%, and then hold about a 6% advantage up until toughness 13 (does that even exist?!).  In short, claws are better if you’re only hunting massively large things–which, based upon her shortage of attacks, is probably something she’d be good at doing; however, it seems inevitable that you’ll be surrounded by smaller critters throughout the game.  The good news is that the “upgrade” only takes three additional points, so it might be viable in some circumstances.

Points Cost:

She comes in at a hefty 250 points (or 253 if you upgrade to the claws), plus you need to reserve extra points for the ‘gants you intend to summon (unless, you’re simply reinforcing them).

In 7th, she came stock at 195 points and could buy cluster spines (+5) and/or claws (+15).  Typically both were good choices, so I ran her that way, totaling 215.  Increaing her to 250 points gives her a tax of about 16%.  I haven’t done enough analysis on the other units, but this seems about normal.

Other Changes:

She lost her ability to count as “troops” when purchased with a squad of termagants.  Like with our friend, the Broodlord, I don’t see this as a downside.  Multiple HQ’s are required to fill out a Battalion Detachment–which is the quickest way to earn additional Command Points.  Additionally, with new detachments like “Supreme Commands,” you have ways of fielding a large amount of HQ’s quite easily.

She’s a psyker, and has lost some options in her abilities, but that’s par for the index.

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).

Overall:

You’re paying a little more points for her overall, but getting a tough beastie told hold synapse in the center of your army.  She can reinforce a reasonable number of ‘gants every turn throughout the entire game without fear of spawning out.  She just doesn’t have the damage output (in either shooting or assault) to make her a star.

Still, she’s a rock-solid choice and provides an option if you just have to keep your synapse alive.  I like the option, and think she’s certainly worth the additional cost in 8th edition.

 

8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Broodlords

Unlike when I’d written my previous review on Hive Tyrants, I have gotten a game of 8th edition in by the time I wrote this post so I do have a little more context about how things work.  I had originally planned to write these reviews in the order in which each unit appears within the index, but since I haven’t played with either the Swarmlord or Old One Eye yet, I’ve opted to skip ahead to the Broodlord.

Statline:

Sweet heaven: how great it feels to compare a traditional statline against the previous edition.  Unlike the old Monstrous Creatures, the broodlord has a simple, consolidated statline that doesn’t change throughout the course of the game.  From what I can tell, they went with this approach with models that have less than 10 wounds.  At least it makes it easier to compare!

Easier yet, none of his stats were strictly reduced, and almost half of them improved in some way.  He’s now faster (+2″ move), hits more (hits everything on a 2+), has twice as many wounds, and 50% more attacks.  There’s no doubt about it, his stats are better across the board.

Of course, one might complain that his wounds characteristic is a little light.  Previously it took at least three lascannons to do him in, whereas he could now theoretically die to a single lucky shot.  Conversely though, he’s also more durable versus medium arms fire.  It’s hard to quibble about this though.  Depending upon what kinds of armies you face, twice as many wounds may not be seen as a buff, but I think it’s hard to say that it’s a nerf.

Abilities:

Many of his abilities are similar to the those of the Hive Tyrants and were covered in the index overview so I won’t go into too much detail on them, other than to say that he is now considered a synapse creature so he now benefits from Synapse and Shadow in the Warp.  That’s helpful to give another option for synapse in the force (which, by the way, is a much bigger deal than I had originally expected it would be).

He also benefits from three other rules: Lightning Reflexes, Swift & Deadly, and Brood Telepathy.

Lightning Reflexes simply gives him a 5+ invulnerable, which is fantastic and something that the army has needed for a while.

Swift and Deadly gives him the ability to charge even if they advance (Aka. “run” from the previous edition).  With the added 2″ of movement, this puts his threat range somewhere between 11-26″ in a given turn.  That’s a pretty huge range, but remember you’re rolling 3d6 in there (one for the run and two for the charge).  Though it can vary wildly, you can be relatively certain of getting a reasonable total distance.

If you reference something like the Dice Probability Charts from the Dark Fortress, you can see that there’s more than a 90% probability that you’ll roll at least a 7 on those three dice, practically guaranteeing you a 15″ threat range (reminder: in 7th edition, his threat range was a maximum of 18″).  Undoubtedly, he’s going to see more combats, and do so at a much quicker pace than he did in any previous edition.

Lastly, he benefits from Brood Telepathy, which grants +1 to hit rolls in the fight phase for genestealers units within 6″ of him.  This specifies that they must be <HIVE FLEET> ‘stealers, so it does mean that he doesn’t buff nearby Purestrain Genestealers from any cult lists (and vice versa for the Patriarch).  Though I’ve heard that GW has ruled in Age of Sigmar that “a model is always considered to be within X” of itself,” the Broodlord does not derive much benefit from this rule as he’s already 2+ to hit in melee.  I suppose though, it means he ignores base modifiers against this roll.  It does help for

Weapons:

Gone are the options for unit upgrades–broodlords now come with Monstrous Rending Claws and that’s it.  It’s not like they had many options for upgrades before (and those that they had options for were all overpriced), but I’m sure someone could have heartache over a lack of flexibility.

What they lose in options they make up in killy power though.  Their default (and only) weapon option comes at their own base strength, -3 armor modifier and does D3 wounds.  Furthermore, on a “rend” (a term I carry over from 7th), it goes to -6AP and increases to a flat damage of 3.

The only real downside is that he’s swinging at strength 5.  What this means compared to last edition is that he’s wounding toughness 3 models on 3’s instead of 2’s, so that’s a bit of a bummer.  He’s not ideally suited to beating up weak models though, so he should generally avoid such combats–and he can’t be tarpitted by them in this edition, so that should have minimal effect.  He’s also rolling a 5+ to wound anything from toughness six through nine and only wounding toughness ten (or more) on 6’s (if there is even something out there that tough).

So, against all various ranges of toughness–except toughness 3, he’s wounding as good–or better–than he did in the previous edition.  His claws also give him the ability to re-roll failed rolls to wound (though I completely forgot about that in my first game with them).

Yup, I have no complaints about that weapon in assaults…

Points Cost:

We have a big difference here.  In the last edition, he was a unit upgrade and ran 60 points.  Genestealers themselves were pretty bad, so you could look at the 70 points you spent on a base unit of them as a tax to buy him.

Event still, at 162 points (the weapons are free!), he’s more expensive this edition.  It’s not fair to compare him against the 130 point unit of him plus the ‘stealers in the previous edition because they did lend him ablative wounds and additional rending attacks.  Undoubtedly, he’s pricey in this edition.

Other Changes:

He’s still a psyker and knows one power, but that power doesn’t need to be “The Horror” as it was in 7th.  It’s not a bad option for him though as it gives him (and any nearby units) potential survivability by reducing an enemy’s to-hit rolls by 1.  He could also go with Onslaught (which provides literally no benefit to him or nearby genestealers, but could be used as a forward node of it in an assaulting army), or with Catalyst for a little extra durability.

He’s also retained his character designation, which seems to be more of a benefit than it was in the previous edition.  He can’t be singled out in a challenge, and also can’t be singled out by weapons that aren’t snipers unless he’s the closest unit, so being a character now just gives him a little extra durability.

The biggest “other” change is really his shift in the Force Org chart.  Previously, he just tacked onto a troop unit, but that doesn’t make much of a difference in this edition.  I’ve seen people complain about other units (particularly the Malanthrope) about switching to an HQ, but frankly, I don’t’ see that as a downside.  Multiple HQ’s are required to fill out a Battalion Detachment–which is the quickest way to earn additional Command Points.  Additionally, with new detachments like “Supreme Commands,” you have ways of fielding a large amount of HQ’s very easily with no downside.

All of these are positive changes.

Overall:

His new and improved statline turns him into a real beat stick in this edition, plus the addition of synapse allows him to help support the rest of your army.  Clearly, you’ll want to run him along with genestealers–since he provides additional benefit to them–but you could also wind up running him with raveners or other fast moving units as another means of synapse.

The only downsides he has now are his higher point cost, which can’t be overlooked.  He’s competing with the big boys now in cost and is relatively fragile for what you’re getting; however, if you lean on the fact that he is a character and can benefit from the protection of nearby squads, he’s likely going to be fairly durable.

I see him being run as a forward bastion of synapse (and whoop-ass) that really should be hanging out by genestealers (possibly in large blocks) and likely hormagaunts (who are cheap wounds and can practically keep up with him as he runs across the board).

 

P.S. Don’t make fun of my tiny broodlords.  I’m working on them!

8th Edition Tyranid Review: Index Overview

In this series of posts, I’m going to delve into the changes that affect the Tyranids between 7th and 8th edition.  While this may be beneficial to those of you who don’t already have access to the rules, the real goal is for me to better familiarize myself with the changes.  I suspect that these posts may open up a dialogue with others online who share an interest on the subject.

For that matter, I’m going to try to be as objective as possible about the changes.  Feel free to point out area where I stray from this goal and/or help me to better understand the changes as a whole.

At the time of writing this, I haven’t actually played any games of 8th, so any analysis is purely academic.  Things may play out substantially different on the tabletop.

As my first post, I’ll go over some of the army-wide special rules, along with some basic rules of the game that will have an impact on Tyranids as a whole…

Synapse

As with the previous iteration, this power grants automatic passing of morale tests.  Previously, it granted creatures within the range “fearless” and caused them to automatically regroup if they fell back into that range.  Fearless allowed them to automatically pass pinning, fear, and regroup tests, plus morale–and also prevented them from going to ground. Continue reading

Grey Knights Quick and Clean?

After a lot of searching and annoyance at getting certain questions answered I would like to throw up a quick and clean bit about some of the finalized details within the Codex I’m looking forward to and perhaps you should be aware of when facing them.

First, some of the things I searched far and wide for a clear answer on:

1. Are Interceptors (FA choice) Jump troops that can move 12″ every turn?

A:  Yes, they also have the Shunt 30″ once per game movement, other than this and 6 more pts a guy, they are exactly the same as a strike team, same psychic powers, options, costs .  An interesting note here is this in combination with a Grand Master giving them Scout.  Scout says you get a free move, Shunt is a Move.  There is nothing stopping you from Shunting as a Scout move.   Normal Strike teams may still deep strike though, which in the Daemonhunter codex was the only benefit a “Teleport Attack” unit gave.

2. Are the Inv Saves given by Staves in CC only?

A: Yes, they are also limited to one per unit.  A Force sword confers a +1 to inv. saves as well, but this again only works in CC.

3. Does the Dreadknight already come with 2 CC weapons?

A: Yes, he comes with two Doomfists which are Dreadnought close combat weapons, rules for which can be found in the big book.  This is actually a very odd situation he’s in akin to the IronClad’s Chainfist issue.  Stock he’s getting +1 attack for two same weapons and striking at strength 10 , add 10 points for a Thunder hammer and you lose an attack just to gain the little bonuses a thunder hammer gives, add 25 points for Great sword and you lose STR 10 and an Attack just to reroll all failed hits/wounds/AP?  The point costs are what bother me, I see benefit for the Great swords reliability factor but with the negatives it seems an unfairly priced change.  The TH is completely wack.  To me it seems the design was changed, either it wasn’t meant to have DCCW’s and would there get +1 attack but be at STR 6 by default, or the ranged weapons were meant to replace a doomfist which they don’t.  Now whether a DCCW is a special weapon is up for debate, but my take would be it is.

4. Psycannons are?

A: 24″ range, STR 7, AP 4, Assault 2 or Heavy 4, rending.  Range does not change with firing mode.  For modeling fun, this means an Assault cannon with Psybullet ammo, is EXACTLY the same thing on a vehicle, so if you have psycannon razorbacks, dreadnoughts, or land raiders from ForgeWorld you’re in luck!  Heavy Psycannon is the same except a single large blast.

So now some tidbits of thought I’ve had on all this…

Psybullet ammo is amazing….super fun stuff.  It can radically change so many units all by itself.  Obviously you will be seeing massed STR 5 Stormbolter fire quite often, the only disadvantage here being the GK player will be very likely to be fielding large units as the 20 pt price tag for these is the same if you bring a 5 man or 10 man but combat squads are available.  Other notable units for this upgrade are the Land Raider Crusader, which originally in the dev codex had to pay 20 pts for this, but now only pays 5!  The GK’s may be the premier codex for attaching extra storm bolters to their tanks =)

 Image from CastleCrashers

Cerberus Launcher Rule Question – You Make the Call

On Tuesday, I’d posted a list for a 500 point tournament based exclusively around Landspeeder Storms, which got me to thinking.  The idea here is that this list allows you to punch ino the enemy with a first turn assault, and forces them to make break tests in their deployment zone–hopefully getting them to run off the board.

But that got me to thinking.  One of the rule that makes this possible is that of the Cerberus Launchers on the storms themselves.  Essentially, they cause the unit that’s being assaulted from the storm to make any leadership checks at -2.  My question is this: if a single unit is assaulted by multiple scout units, disembarking from multiple storms, are the -2 modifiers cumulative?

For your convenience, the exact rules of the cerberus launchers can be found below:

The cerberus laucher is used to stun enemy units prior to an assault by Scouts.

If a Scout unit charges nito comat on the same turn as it disembarks from the Land Speeder, any enemy units that th Scoutsassault have their Leadership reduced b 2 for the duration of that assault phase.

Are those modifiers cumulative?   If so, an assault by two scouts units, both with powerfists, would likely mean a victory by at least 1 wound–making the negative modifier at least -5.  Best case scenario, this means that a unit is going to need to roll a 4 or a 5 in order to stay in combat…

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the matter… Do you think the modifiers should be combined?

Image stolen from the math department at Oakland Community College.