Apocalypse Winter 2018: The Rules

Often I’ll work up some fluff to support an impending Apocalypse battle, and then drum up some interest in advance on the blog; however, this time I did none of that.  Last weekend, we experienced the first (and hopefully not the only) Apoc game of 2018, without all of the fanfare.

Truth be told, I wanted to have a game, but I didn’t want to commit all of the time and resources into creating it.  So, I wound up coasting on this one.  I’ve learned my lesson from the past though, and will get the details written up much faster this time.  Being our first Apoc game of 8th edition made it a little easier.  First, we didn’t know what kind of rules exceptions we needed to clarify or amend, but also, 8th is significantly streamlined.  As a result, the rules for army building (and for the day of the battle) are listed below:

Army Creation Rules:

All players were given these rules in advance to make their lists:

  • Please create 180 Power Level Lists (power level vs. points is just easier to make quick lists).  Please try not to abuse the power level system.  For those that are not familiar with power level, try to use units/upgrades that you would normally take in a points level list.
  • Scoring points will be awarded in three different ways:
    • Holding Objectives.  For the purposes of this game only units without the CHARACTER keyword can hold an objective.
    • Defending Objectives.  This largely means killing scoring units off of objectives.  Any unit can earn these points.
    • Titanic Destruction:  Per Apoc, at the end of the battle, each side receives victory points for each enemy TITANIC unit that has been destroyed
  • Matched Play: we’ll be using the rules for Matched play (I know base rules say Apoc is “open play” but that seems too abusable.  (Rulebook page 212)
  • Detachments: Please limit your force to up to 3 detachments for your army (Rulebook page 214)
  • Warmasters will be in effect (chapter approved 10) – “Slay the warmaster” will also be in effect
  • Timeclocks will be used.  Per usual.  Probably 4 hours per team.

Day of the Game Rules:

For the day of the game, we didn’t clarify terrain, have to set rules for deployment areas, outflanking, etc.  8th edition streamlined all of that for us.  Instead, we just added rules for how to score points:

  • Scoring Rules:
    • Objectives:
      • At the beginning of each side’s turns, roll a die.  On a 1-3 the Fortress of Redemption is your objective this turn.  On a 4-6, the objective is the large ammo dump building.
      • At the end of that side’s turn, objectives will be scored as follows:
        • +2 points for each of their non-character units within 3″ of the objective.
        • +1 point for each unit of their opponents’ that was destroyed who was within 3″ of the other objective (the one which was not rolled)
      • Points will only be scored by the active team at the end of their turns.
    • Titanic Destruction Clarification:
      • If a model with 20 or more wounds is destroyed during the game, an additional X points will be awarded to the opposing team where X is the total number of wounds the model started with, divided by 10 (rounded down).

In retrospect, these rules worked out relatively well.  Maybe we could’ve tweaked the number of points given for “titanic destruction” though.  In truth, that rule normally says you just get one point for killing a titan, so we had up to 5 points per titan in play.

In the next two posts, I’ll go over army lists and how the game played out.  I’ll also include some pictures from the actual game (in case the time stamp didn’t already clue you in, these photos are of previous apoc games).

8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Old One Eye

My 8th Edition Tyranid Index Review continues with HQ’s that I’ve already played.   I’ve skipped over the Swarmlord and Prime, because they haven’t seen the table, but I have fielded Old One Eye in a couple of battles (including this one), so we’ll cover him now.


Like all of the other 10+ wound critters, Old One Eye gets reduced in effectiveness over time.  So it’s hard to do a direct comparison of him between the editions, but we’ll give it the old (one-eyed) college try.

His statline also changed radically.  In fact, none of his stats are the same as they were in the previous edition–well, except his armor save.  Everything else has changed (with most of them going up–so that’s a plus).

His move went up by 1, making him slightly faster, but that’s not anything to write home about.

His Toughness went up by one, which basically means that Plasma wounds him on a 4+ and various Strength 6 weapons only hurt on a 5+.  Coupled with the fact that he will get an armor save against most every weapon (even if it’s just a 6+), that should lead to a little increased durability.

His stats that fluctuate over time are weapon skill, strength, and attacks.  Weapon skill went from a 3 to a 3+ in most cases, so that’s a definite improvement.  Strength went from 10 to varying between 5-7 so that’s certainly down.  Attacks went from 4 (essentially 5, considering the extra hand weapon) to somewhere between D3 and 5.

With his old strength, he could wound anything up to T8 on a 2+, whereas now he only wounds things up to T3 that way (and that’s assuming he’s at full strength).  Coupled with an overall reduction of attacks, his ability to wade through combatants is decreased.  What he has going for him is that he does a straight 3 wounds per attack, meaning he’ll actually fair better against large models and characters.

Overall, his durability has increased, but his damage output seems to have decreased.  This may be a wash as far as stats go, but seems a little worse to me.  Of course, he’s hitting far more often than he did previously, so in all actuality, this is probably a better statline than the previous edition.


Alpha Leader has changed in that it no longer gives him poor man’s synapse (which was a terrible ability).  Frankly, any change to that was likely to be a bonus.  Now, he adds +1 to hit in assaults for nearby Carnifexen (including himself).  He’s going to count as a force multiplier for nearby carnies, so expect to see him with some friends.

“Living battery ram” used to give him additional hammer of wrath attacks, but as that’s gone, it’s now morphed into an “Immortal Battering ram” that gives him a 4+ to inflict D3 hammer of wrath attacks in the form of mortal wounds (done to a unit, not a model, so this should be able to kill off multiple figures).

He also has a new rule called “berserk” rampage wherein he can get additional attacks for each successful hit.  Frankly, I was forgetting to roll these in my game….

Regen still exists, except now he just automatically regains a single wound per turn.

In every instance, I think that his abilities are much improved from 7th edition.



He comes armed with Monstrous Crushing Claws, Scything Talons, and a Thresher Scythe.  Unlike most unit entries in the codex, he’s not required to pay the “tail tax” on his attacks.  In fact, you can pick and choose to make as many (or as few) attacks you want with the tail (too bad you can’t use these in conjunction with Berserk rampage).

His claws and talons have the same damage and AP modifier, but at least you have the option.  Generally for a normal carnifex, I think I’d choose to roll two sets of scything talons as the extra attack seems better than the extra strength.   But since he has the option, you’ll generally want to use the claws when it comes down to units that are T6 or less.  The damage output winds up being quite similar in most cases for the base attacks, but Berserk rampage helps swing the favor towards the talons.  Otherwise, I think the claws are a better solution against T7 critters.

Considering the last edition just gave him a straight AP2 one damage attack, these are a tad better.  Combined with the tail option and Berserker Rampage, he can do more damage to little guys and big guys alike.  This is a solid win for this unit.

Points Cost:

Unlike most of the other units in the game, his points are a fixed 140 points and all wargear is included.  Whereas he previous rocked the scales at 220 points, and many models in this edition actually got more expensive, coming in at a mere 140 points is a steal for this guy.  Another solid win.

Other Changes:

There really aren’t a lot of other changes that impact him.  We’ve already discussed that his pseudo synapse is gone, so his role (if you can call it that) of acting as a synapse node is gone.  Instead, he’s a force multiplier for other units of Carnifexes in your force, so I think you’ll see him in lists like that.

Hammer of Wrath as a rule, was pretty unimpressive for all units in the last codex, except for carnifexes, so I think it’s worth noting that it’s absence will be felt overall.  Lucky for this guy, he gets his new rule that makes up for it (sort of), but normal carnies will not be so lucky.


This guy strikes me as a steal.  I’ve used in in two games, and he really did do a number on a land raider for me, despite me forgetting that I got additional attacks for every hit I rolled, and he comes in at a sizable discount to what he used to be.  If he had synapse, I would think that he’d be a shoe-in as an auto-include for this codex.

As it stands, I think he’s a great choice to include if you’re running units of carnies already.  I can see him hitting the table far more in this edition….

P.S. Man, I don’t seem to have any good pictures of my carnifexes available… I know I don’t have a dedicated model for this guy, but you’d think I could at least throw up some pics, given that I have nine of these painted.  Man, I need to get to work on those pictures…

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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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


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.


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…


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