Tyranids Tactica Be Not Prey
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The Hive Custodian
Fighting Other Tyranids
Fighting Space Marines (Vanilla) and Chaos Space Marines
Fighting Imperial Guard
Fighting Dark Eldar
Fighting the Eldar
Survival of the Fittest: Fighting Other TyranidsI'll begin with the army most often overlooked: the Tyranids themselves.
Things to avoid:Zoanthropes: Generally, only the concentrated version of Warp Blast is useful, and it brings you too close to the creatures you're trying to kill with it. Winged creatures will be able to assault and most likely kill the Zoanthrope on the next turn, then Sweeping Advance into another unit.
Raveners: Warriors are better.
Gargoyles: Due to the lack of significant Tyranid gunnery, speed is not as essential. Though you may get the charge if you're faster, the decrease in numbers makes them a poor choice against Gaunts, and they are ineffective against larger models.
Lictors: Considering the selection of availiable targets, Lictors will not be useful. There is little it can kill in one turn besides small bugs, and anything large will likely kill it in one turn.
The Red Terror: There is absolutely nothing worth swallowing, and it's quite outmatched against another Monstrous Creature. It can also be swarmed to death.
Things to use:Adrenal Glands and +Sv: Give ALL your non-Troop broods Adrenal Glands of both types and +Sv. You'll one-up them in WS and I, and the lack of good AP weapons means that the points of +Sv are well-spent.
Implant Attack: Your monsters will need this to match up with other monsters.
Here's the general Tyranid versus Tyranid counter list: Monsters counter Gaunts/Rippers, Gaunts/Rippers counter Rending Claws, Rending Claws counter Monsters.
However, Rending Claw units tend to be slow. Use this to your advantage: take Tyrants with Wings, Warp Blast, Scything Talons, and Lash Whips. You can outpace most melee units while shredding them with Warp Blast. Those that also fly you can often beat in melee. Furthermore, the Lash Whips will often cut out a third to half their attacks. Rending Rippers get auto-killed by Tyrants with +S, and Genestealers lose half their attacks even if they can catch the Tyrant. You'll want some other monsters as well. Take plenty of Rending of your own to take down enemy monsters, as they are equal with the enemy Rending and your Tyrant is less vulnerable to enemy Rending than your Troops would be to their monsters. Rending Rippers are probably ideal.
Use Old One Eye! Since he regenerates on the Tyranid turn, he'll regenerate twice as fast as normal.
Synapse is not as essential since you can steal your opponent's Synapse.
Claws on Clay: Fighting Space Marines (Vanilla) and Chaos Space MarinesVanilla Space Marines are not particuarly specialized, so the normal Gaunts will fare passably (but not great) against them, as well as most other units. On the other hand, Chaos Space Marines are a diverse lot; only a few units are good against them in general.
Things to avoid:Biovores: Unless your enemy tends to clump up a lot, the unreliable Acid Spore Mine isn't going to cover too many models. Not to mention you only wound a third of the Marines you catch should you actually manage to hit.
Raveners: They fare extremely poorly against bolters. The enemy may only get to fire a single volley, but against Raveners, that's all they need.
Things to use:Lash Whips: Power fists are the greatest danger for monstrous creatures in close combat against Space Marines. However, many of them have 2 Attacks. Take advantage of this and use Lash Whips. With them, a monster can usually take down its cost in Terminators before it goes down. They are less effective against Chaos Space Marines, though, due to the often higher number of incoming attacks.
Warp Blast: This is a no-brainer.
Rending Rippers: When you get into assault with that power armor, you want Rending Claws, and there's no better way to provide them than with Rending Rippers.
WS 5: As always, one-up them. Power fists strike last, so getting I 5 is not as essential.
Ultimate Attrition: Fighting Imperial Guard
Things to avoid:Rending Claws: There's no good saves or high Toughness for Rending Claws to ignore, and vehicles are harder to get to without being shot up on the way. This means nix on the Genestealers.
Adrenal Glands: Generally, you already have the WS and I advantage; more of it doesn't help you.
Toxin Sacs: Low Toughness means that the extra Strength isn't necessary. With 4-6 Attacks with +2d6 penetration for monsters, and possibly Wings to get behind them, who needs another point of Strength?
Implant Attack: Carnifexes auto-kill already. If you truly think killing characters faster is necessary, Toxin Sacs on your Tyrant will accomplish more.
Things to use:If you think you can get rear armor, a Lictor might actually be useful here. That's a big if, though; consider before you do it.
You want monsters. Imperial Guard vehicles may be able to have Lascannons, but they're expensive and inaccurate. Anything else on a vehicle simply can't get past the 2+ save of a monster, making the tanks very poor against your Tyrants and Carnifexes.
Of course, what your monsters have to worry about is all those heavy weapons in the squads. The best option may be to back your monsters with a good base of Troops; if they take lots of heavy weapons, they won't have the numbers to counter your Gaunts and/or Rippers. Just make sure to spread out; expect lots of blast and flame weapons out there.
A little well-deployed Deathspitter or Venom Cannon gunnery is useful for taking out Heavy Weapons Squads; you may be able to ping Chimeras afterwards if the brood survives. Don't go heavy on this, though. The best way, though, is probably Frag Spore Mines (thanks, Hunter); even if you miss by a little, they'll have to move (and not fire), or fire and detonate the Spore Mine.
Armored CompanyIf you fight Armored Company, take monsters. In fact, take as many monsters (except the Red Terror; there's lots of AP 3 out there) and Zoanthropes as you can, to the exclusion of all else. You don't need +WS, +I, or Implant Attack. There's only a few tanks that have AP outside of Lascannons, and they're either short-ranged, or extremely expensive. Meanwhile, the Lascannons are not all that accurate, and buying a whole tank is a steep price for a single Lascannon, especially with monstrous creatures running around. Storm Troopers don't have the range to track down a Tyrant; they don't have the speed, either, unless they're in a Chimera, which costs points itself and is all but useless against a monster. Armored Fist squads may have heavy weapons, but they also suffer from the Chimera problem. If you run out of monster slots, grab some Gargoyles and try to get behind them.
This Is My Beatstick: Fighting Orks
Things to Avoid:Gretchin Mobs disabling your monsters: Your Troops can tear through them with ease, but not so with your monsters. Since you should be mostly shooting with your Tyrants, they should be safe from this tactic with them (unless you decide to start piling in with them), but not so with your Carnifexes. Old One Eye is especially vulnerable, since he is melee-only.
Grot Bomb Launchers (GBL): Now, I don't have Imperial Armor II, so I'm going to be working from IVEATCH's guide. The AP of the GBL can't penetrate monster armor, and it's too expensive to be used against troops effectively, unless you bunched up really tight, so monsters and troops aren't what you need to worry about. What you have to watch out for is your Biovores (ironic, eh?) and Warriors, especially ones with Venom Cannons. You may be able to out-range Rokkit Launchers, but a well-aimed GBL can waste half a brood of Warriors. If you see one, and you're fielding Warriors, you'll want to pop it first.
Genestealers: There's only a few good saves in the Ork army, and so the Rending Claws are not very useful. Furthermore, a Genestealer stacks up extremely poorly against da Boyz; they will be outnumbered about two to one.
Lash Whips: Orks have too many attacks for these to have much effect. You're better off with another Attack, which may allow you to kill them in assault before they can react.
Psychic Scream: Unless the mob is almost dead anyways, this isn't going to do much.
Gargoyles: Though they could potentially glance Trukks, their speed isn't going to their best effect against Orks due to the lower amount of incoming fire. Normal Gaunts' speed is sufficient, and the lower cost of normal Gaunts means that you'll have more attacks.
However Tony thinks otherwise: I would suggest the opposite as you can use them in this trukk killer mode (Use gargoyles to surround and kill Trukks. With the trukk surrounded none of the ork can disembark and are all killed with the truck) or you can use them as troop killers because they have 2 attacks on the charge plus a relatively high initiative and with their fleet of wing and charge range they should make the charge. Then again you could also deep strike them and just let them shoot.
Just try playing around with Gargoyles and see whether you find them useful against Orks or not.
Tyrant Guard: Orks may not have much AP 2, but they have their share of AP 3. Plus, the weapons on Tyrant Guard are not going to do you a whole lot of good.
Things to Use:The Ork list lacks AP 2 weapons with long range (even by Tyranid standards!). On the other hand, Choppas abound, and you can be sure that there are some Power Claws scattered throughout the army. Furthermore, you risk getting tied down by an inexpensive Gretchin Mob. This means your Tyrants are better off shooting than meleeing. Give them Wings and Venom Cannons, and shoot any vehicles that come anywhere near you, while staying out of range. If you want, you can give them Exceptional Size instead of Toxin Sacs, which makes them immune to most of the Boyz out there. Yes, immune; I'm not talking one-in-36 chance of being wounded immune, I'm talking a 7+ on a D6 immune. Granted, you'll still be vulnerable to massed shooting and Power Claws, but it is definitely something to consider.
If your opponent likes a Nob bodyguard, take Implant Attack so you can kill Nobz with one hit apiece. With your speed, you should get the charge if it comes to that. If they field a Battlewagon or other vehicle to transport their HQ, counter with a Carnifex with a Venom Cannon or Zoanthropes. Once on the ground, you can assault them or shoot them at your leisure; a monster's Venom Cannon will auto-kill any of them. Gaunts stack up about evenly with da Boyz, so your Troops should be fine. If you don't fear Rokkit Launchas, you could try Warriors with Extended Carapace instead of some of your Gaunts.
Poison Spore Mines are excellent against Ork vehicles. A Battlewagon will not last long against a Spore Mine barrage. However, I hear this may not work against Speed Freeks. (?)
Feral OrksLess AP 2 than a normal Ork army makes Winged Tyrants even more attractive against Feral Orks. However, melee can be more dangerous as well; though there's less Power Claws, Squiggoths can hurt if they hit, and even Exceptional Size won't save you from a large mob of Madboyz. Strength isn't so much of a big deal; if you take a Carnifex, a Barbed Strangler would probably serve you better than a Venom Cannon. Melee with Troops is a dangerous proposition with inexpensive and strong Madboyz running about; you'll need to find a balance between Troop vulnerability to Madboys and Warrior vulnerability to Rokkit Lanuchas.
Mindless Slaughter: Fighting Necrons
Things to avoid:The Heavy Destroyer may be the greatest threat from the Necron army. It has a reliable AP 2 weapon capable of auto-killing Warriors, and is also quite fast. Getting a Warp Blast off on them is difficult with Zoanthropes; careful manuvering with Tyrants is necessary to do it without too much damage in return. Chasing them down with Gargoyles may be the best idea; at the very least, it will keep them out of range or line of sight for a turn or two. Make sure they don't lead your Gargoyles into danger, though. You may also be able to get lucky with a Lictor.
The Monolith is almost universally feared. Thankfully, it's not very effective against monsters and large broods of Gaunts, and every Monolith on the table means a few less Heavy Destroyers. Unless the enemy has extreme firepower from other sources, you should be able to get close enough with a Winged Tyrant with Warp Blast to shoot it down. If that fails, charge it; if it tries to Particle Whip you the next turn, it risks a hit on itself.
C'tan are powerful, but expensive. Ignore them if you can; they are relatively slow and short-ranged. Should you want or need to destroy one, shoot it with the benefit of Implant Attack, or use Catalyst on a Carnifex with Implant Attack and charge.
Warriors: There's too much AP 4 and AP 3 around, especially if a Monolith is around.
Small Broods: You don't want the Monolith getting a lot of shots. With only a few large broods, the Flux Arc Projectors won't do too much damage. Of course, monsters have little to worry about.
Lash Whips: Most Necrons have only one Attack anyhow.
Venom Cannons (except Carnifex): They don't have the AP to penetrate armor, and while a Tyrant's shots can keep Warriors from getting back up, the Warp Blast is better on the whole.
Things to use:Hive Tyrant: Warp Blast can tear through just about anything in the Necron army. Wings are a must; you want to stay behind cover or in melee to avoid fire from Heavy Destroyers.
Rending Claws: The less of them that get back up, the better. Rending Rippers are better than Genestealers for this; watch out for Strength 6 auto-kills. Another benefit is that even if you fail your Leadership check against Flayed Ones, you still have your rends.
Warp Blast: Good against the good Necron saves, and the concentrated version keeps them from getting back up. Models with Warp Blast will be prime targets for Heavy Destroyers, though.
Polar Opposites: Fighting the Tau
Things to avoid:If you break cover at their maxiumum range, you're going to be gunned down. It is hard to hide large broods of Gaunts, so if they have lots of Fire Warriors, your chances are poor. Rippers may be a good idea; many Tau weapons are just short of being able to auto-kill them, and their improved cover saves compensate for their slower speed.
Remember that, in shooting, the larger Tau models counter your own larger models, and the smaller Tau models counter your own smaller models. There are actually very few exceptions to this; Rail Rifles are ineffective against monsters, and Burst Cannons and Flamers don't have the range to safely attack Gaunts.
Slow Warriors: With the Tau range, they simply can't engage the enemy quickly enough.
Adrenal Glands: You already have the WS and I advantage; another point isn't going to give you any more benefit. Plus, they don't enough damage in melee to make striking earlier much of an advantage.
Toxin Sacs on monsters: If you get a monster into melee with them, they're already screwed. Toxin Sacs won't help you much there, and it won't help Warp Blast either.
Carnifex: It can't close quickly, and the Venom Cannon is really only useful against Hammerheads.
Things to use:Warp Blast: You'll need a good amount of Warp Blast to be able to penetrate the armor of Battlesuits and Hammerheads. If you can get in range, a Tyrant compares quite favorably to a Hammerhead in a shootout.
Implant Attack: This will allow Tyrants and Warriors to take down Battlesuits twice as quickly. Unless it is re-limited to close combat, it makes Warp Blast extremely deadly against Battlesuits.
Wings or Flesh Hooks: They will allow to close faster and find cover more easily. With cover, Tyrants should be able to reach Broadsides without too much damage.
Take No Prisoners: Fighting Dark Eldar
Things to avoid:Expect lots of Dark Lances and lots of Agonizers. You're going to have to be very careful with your monsters.
Gaunts: Dark Eldar Warriors one-up them in melee, and Wych weapons negate Scything Talons. Rippers will most likely fare better, especially with Leaping. If you're fighting a Wych Cult, Leaping is not as necessary. Alternately, use Gargoyles. Against most armies, the speed advantage is the only thing that really counts for Gargoyles over Gaunts, but against Dark Eldar, the Gargoyles' other advatages come into play very heavily.
Carnifex: There's only one thing which the Carnifex's Strength will actually have an appreciable effect on, the Talos. You should have plenty of other ways of dealing with a Talos, so leave the Carnifex behind.
Implant Attack: You auto-kill them anyway.
Warp Blast and Zoanthropes: Like the Carnifex, the Strength (and AP) is wasted. If you want the blast effect on their open-topped vehicles, take Deathspitters. Or better yet, Poison Spore Mines. Plus, a single Dark Lance will fry a Zoanthrope.
Scything Talons (against Wych Cult): They don't work. Use Lash Whips instead in this case.
Rending Claws and Genestealers: Again, no saves and no high Toughness to ignore with these.
+I: Face it, unless you're meleeing Warriors, you're not striking first, or even at the same time. Use Catalyst instead.
You may not want to melee with your Tyrants. You can take cover against a Dark Lance, but not an Agonizer.
Things to take:Biovores with Poison Spore Mines: Very important! If there's one thing that Dark Eldar players always complain about from the Tyranid army, its Poison Spore mines taking down their Skimmers. Plus, they're not bad against the rest of the army. Hit the Ravager first!
Venom Cannons and Wings: Nearly as good against Skimmers. Wings will let you take cover more easily, avoid Agonizers, and you can try to snipe those Raiders as they approach.
Gargoyles: As I said before, the Gargoyle's main advantage over normal Gaunts is usually its speed, and little else. Speed will certainly help you here, but let's take a look at what else makes Gargoyles good and Gaunts not. First, their second attack comes from Bio-Plasma, not Scything Talons. This means that Wyches can't negate their extra attack. Second, the Initiative of Bio-Plasma means that you'll actually strike first most of the time. Third, the flat to-hit number of Bio-Plasma means you can hit Skimmers more easily with them. Fourth, the 2" range of Bio-Plasma means that even a large brood charging a Skimmer will get full attacks. Finally, we have the Strength 4 of the Bio-Plasma AND the Fleshborer: they have not only one, but two chances against a Skimmer, and they can ding a Talos as well!
Rippers: Hey, you're striking last anyways. Rippers will hold them down for a long time, and should be your Troop of choice against Dark Eldar.
Deathspitters: Double hits against Dark Eldar Skimmers, and brutal against their infantry as well. The problem is protecting the Warriors they're mounted on; try giving them Flesh Hooks and waiting behind a wall for an opportunity. This option is probably not as strong as the above.
They Must've Absorbed Some Tau Genes: Fighting the EldarMy specialty, if I do say so myself. The key to beating Eldar with Tyranids?
Out-shoot them and out-manuever them.
"But," you say, "we're Tyranids! We're not supposed to out-shoot anyone! And they're Eldar! You're not supposed to outmanuever them!"
Things to avoid:Genestealers: You'll never catch their Skimmers. Genestealers are actually inferior to Scorpions in melee. They're only really good against Wraithgaurd, and there, Rending Claw Rippers are much better.
Carnifex: Though Eldar are a bit tougher than their Dark cousins, the Strength is still wasted.
Warp Blast: See above. Plus, you are much safer in melee than you would be against Dark Eldar, though there are some things to beware of.
An all-melee army: Assault doesn't work against Skimmer tanks. You can't catch them, and even if you do, you can't hit them.
Things to use:Winged Tyrant with Venom Cannon, Exceptional Size, no Toxin Sacs: You always wanted to field an Exceptional Size Tyrant? There's no better place than against Eldar. Exceptional Size makes the Tyrant immune to Banshees and Hawk Exarchs, makes the Executioner almost worthless (even more so with Lash Whips), increases your durability 50% against the ever-present Starcannons, as well as Fusion Guns, and gives a bit of a bonus against Bright Lances and Pulse Lasers. And nothing pops Falcons and Wave Serpents like a Tyrant's Venom Cannon. All this for less than the cost of a Monolith, and with aguably greater durability and damage. Wraithguard and Fire Dragons are too slow to chase down a Tyrant, and any transport will be blown out from under them. Your only real threats are Mind War, Wraithlords, and Rangers; if you expect these, counter with Psychic Scream; Rending Rippers and/or Implant Attack; and Gaunts/Rippers, respectively. Heck, against some Eldar armies you won't even need much in the way of Troops with Tyrants like these.
Catalyst: Good for Gaunts when they're fighting Aspect Warriors.
Iyanden (and others, too): Rending Rippers: You'll need these against Wraithlords, and anything a Venom Cannon can't pierce are perhaps best left to these.
Saim-Hann: Biovores (Poison Spore Mines): Lots of Fast Attack there; but what do you think they're going to take? Jetbikes? Shining Spears? Or... Vypers. Open-topped Vypers...
Altaioc: Deploy in cover, so if they roll a 6 on the Disruption Table, they'll get cover (?) In any case, it's unlikely that they'll be able to take down a monster with the table; that generally takes over a dozen shots, even with Path-finders. Pinning shouldn't be a problem, due to Synapse. Try to take out the snipers using Gaunts or Rippers; they'll often be in cover where Gargoyles will not be able to enter. If you're careful and the terrain allows, you may be able to out-snipe them with Tyrants because you have Assault weapons and they don't. Move any Venom Cannons around so that they can only see (and be seen) by as many snipers as they can likely shoot to death in the same turn. The snipers will be unable to respond in any significant fashion.
Biel-Tan: Dark Reapers fare poorly against Tyranids, but you may see lots of Aspect Warriors in Wave Serpents. Take the transports out from under them with Venom Cannons, and take their ankles out from under them with Gaunts (Rending Rippers if they're packing Wraithlord(s).
Ulthwe: Psychic Scream is good here, of course. Otherwise, though, it often works much like a vanilla army; expect your Troops to be outmatched by Black Guardians.
HarlequinsAvoid even Weapon Skills. Holo-suits round up, so an even WS doesn't do you any good over one less.
Avoid blast weapons. Harlequins can spread out much further than most troops.
Avoid Carnifexes, Warp Blast, and Zoanthropes. The Strength and anti-armor capabilites are wasted against Harlequins.
Avoid Lash Whips. Harlequins have too many Attacks for them to be effective.
Use Bio-Plasma. There's no armor you need to penetrate, so that drawback is gone. The range helps if you can't get all your models into base contact, the Initative may actually let you strike first, and the fixed to-hit number counteracts the Holo-suits. On a Tyrant with +I, you could kill a Solitaire before he knows what hit him (granted, this is still a risky proposition, but it could happen whether you want it or not).
Use Rippers. They are immune to many of the Harlequins' special equipment and abilities, and are not bad in combat either. You may want a few with Rending to take against Wraithlords, but otherwise, Rending is a bad idea.
Use Gargoyles. They have great speed, Bio-Plasma as mentioned above, and their Leadership protects them against many Harlequin weapons.
Use Catalyst. In an assault, if they can't remove the models in base contact, they're in for a lot more hurt. Plus, if one of them kills your Tyrant, it might give you a chance at revenge.
And You Thought You Were the Melee Army: Fighting Kroot
Things to Avoid:Troops: Look at the stats of a Kroot Hound. Consider that it costs the same as a Scythegaunt. Consider that it can get Fleet of Foot for real cheap. Gaunts aren't going to walk away from this one.
Gargoyles: Speed won't do you a whole lot of good here, unless you have some range.
Anything that penetrates armor: The best armor save in the Kroot army is a 5+.
Things to Use:Monsters with blast weapons: You don't need AP, and there's going to be a lot of Kroot on the table. The Sixth Sense Evolutionary Adaptation costs a lot of points, so even if they take that, you'll have the advantage. Only their characters can pierce your armor, and then, they can only do it in either shooting or melee. You, on the other hand, can beat them down in both. If they take Meltaguns or Plasma Guns, melee them. If they take Eviscerators, shoot them. A hit with a Deathspitter can take out half a Shaper Council.
Warriors: The Kroot's main source of AP 4, the Kroot Gun, frankly sucks for its point cost. Warriors will fare somewhat better than Gaunts in melee; a +WS, 2x Scything Talons, Extended Carapace Warrior is over seven times as durable as a Gaunt against melee attacks, and provides about 3.5 times the damage. Not to mention it provides its own Synapse. A few Deathspitters with +S may be useful for auto-killing a Shaper Council.
WS 5: One-up them.
2-5x Psychic Scream: Usually this doesn't work because a Zoanthrope with Psychic Scream is very vulnerable, but the lack of good AP among Kroot might actually make this worthwhile if you're careful. With its save, a Zoanthrope could conceivably last a turn or two against Kroot, and with enough Psychic Scream, Winged Tyrants can start beating and chasing down fleeing Kroot all over the place.