Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grey Knight Terminators

When the Grey Knight Codex was first released I didn't immediatly buy a copy. I bought the codex a couple of weeks after the release and spent a whole friday night reading every page. I came up with this list that first night.

Inquisitor 25
Grey Knight Termantors squad 10 470 x 3
2 Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo, 8 Halbreds, 2 Hammers
Psyiflemand Dreads 135 x 3

Total 1840

I alway build a list around 1850 because most of the tourneys I got to are at that points level. I didn't immediatly buy the models to build that list because I toyed with alot of different concepts like Mordrak or an all Strike Squad army or even a Coteaz henchman list. The codex really offers a varity of armies concepts that can all be viable in a tournement. However, like my Lysander Space Marine army I wanted to build a list that could compete with the top armies and also didn't have any over the top bad matchups. Terminators are also one of my favorite models in the game. For 42 pts (with Psybolt Ammo) you get a I6, 2+, 5++, Frag, Krak, S5 storm bolter, S5 in hth, LD9, 2 attacks base, deep strike, and relentless.

When trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to run I kept coming back that first list I had put together. Later on I gave the Inquisitor 3 servo skulls to get my total up to 1849. After a year of the codex being out I finally decided to put together this army and I am really glad I did. This army plays very differently then a other terminator armies like DW. They rely more on the ability to go first in CC instead of surviving the onslaught and striking last. They also have a lot more fire power with S5 storm bolters and S7 rending psycannons.

My final list was just like the list above except I gave my Inquisitor 3 servo skulls to help with keeping infiltraters away from my army and to help with deepstiking terminators. So far the army has done really well. I have not lost a game and I have come in second and won best general at a 70 person GT style tournament. Most gamers don't know how to take on my army effectivily which gives me a huge advantage. I look forward to maul at the maul and adepticon because both tourneys should offer some new challenges that I look forward to takeing head on.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Makes a Unit Both Good & Effective

What Makes a Unit Both Good and Unique

By hte Black Blow Fly

This article deals primarily with designing units for 40k that are good in terms of performance and also unique. There is lots of information available on the Internet that covers what are good units but I find often this type of information tends to be repetitious. We all know just how good are IG veterans, Purifiers and Grey Hunters - no one can deny these are good units plus they are well costed in terms of what you get for the points. The same can be said for BA assault squads and even DE Wyches. There are common templates available for these types of units right at the end of your fingertips and you don't often see too much deviation from the norm. For the most part I am going to steer clear of these in this article - like I said there is already a world of information available - it is common knowledge. I would instead like to explore other units that tend to be overlooked in 5th edition and also show a few alternate approaches to a couple of commonly fielded units as well.

To me one of the major advantages when fielding units that are less popular from a competitive point of view is that other players will tend to have a hard time deciding how to effectively deal with them due to their lack of experience versus them. For example how many times have you faced off against an Ork army with Tank Bustaz or Flash Gitz? Typically at a tournament it's one and you're done - you play versus a certain player once then move on to the next opponent. How often have you played a game where at the end you ended up losing and couldn't help thinking if you had it to do over again you probably could have won knowing what you learned during your loss? I think there is more to this type of approach than what might at first appear on the surface as an unusual aberration. For example it is commonly stated on the Internet that infantry heavy eldar armies are gimped but in fact in the hands of a skilled player they have actually done quite well. I know to a few I'm preaching to the proverbial  choir but remember this article is tailored towards those who might like to learn something new.

Overall Army Design and Coordination Between Individual Units
I'm not espousing the design of a gimmicked army list - a major problem with this approach is that at a large tournament (five or more rounds) one trick ponies often end up playing against another army that is the paper to their rock. I'm really all about building highly balanced armies that have what I think are the three most important aspects:

— Mobility
— Effective shooting versus infantry and armor
— Effective melee versus dedicated close combat units (e.g., assault terminators)

If you want to build an effective army composed of several or more unique units you will probably have to design it such that there is a lot of synergy between the various units... Probably you won't be able to rely upon a couple of rock units to thoroughly trounce your opponents. This type of army design means that you will need a lot of coordination between your individual units.

First Two Examples - Tyranids versus Space Marines
Here is my first example - I'm playing my Tyranids versus a Space Marine army that has a big squad of assault terminators armed with lots of thunderhammers and stormshields. The terminators are guarding a flank I need to penetrate so I can reach the softer enemy units hiding behind them. Here is a synergistic approach to handle them - first focus fire on the terminators - even if I only kill one or two that will make the ensuing assault more manageable. My Hive Tyrant then casts paroxysm on the terminators reducing their weapon skill to WS1 then I assault them with a large brood of genestealers. The genestealers are armed with toxin sacs and scything talons - so I reroll to hit on 1s and reroll to wound as well - this combination of wargear generates a lot more rends. Note that with scything talons you will roughly reroll half of your missed hits since you are hitting the terminators on a 3+. The Broodlord also casts Hypnotic Gaze on the terminator sergeant to prevent him from swinging back. If everything goes as planned at most there are only a couple of terminators left and due to the low number of attacks plus they are hitting back on 5+ I only lose at most a couple of genestealers and if need be I can soak one wound on the Broodlord. The terminators lose combat and are then destroyed the next round of close combat thus protecting my genestealers from being fired upon during my opponent's subsequent turn. There are a lot of elements to this combined approach and you can't count on everything working in your favor... For example if there is a Librarian close by in the Space Marine army he might be lucky and cancel both of the Tyranid psychic powers with his hood. On the other hand the Space Marine player has nothing in his arsenal to fully negate my focused fire and there is nothing he can do to thwart the genestealers' wargear (toxin sacs and scything talons). If the majority of these combined tactics work then most likely the end goal is satisfied barring a lot of really awful dice rolls.

Genestealers are currently considered nerfed since they no longer have access to assault grenades. Some people are under the impression that genestealers can't even effectively tackle a squad of tactical Marines sitting in cover. That is a gaming myth though if you stop to think about it. For example assume a brood of 10 genestealers armed with toxin sacs launch an assault into a squad of 10 tactical Marines sitting in cover - I'll even play the odds in favor of the Space Marines... Not that you'd think they need it but it helps to drive the point home. Let's assume the sergeant has a power fist as well. The nine tactical Marines strike first - 9 attacks generate five hits and three wound - two genestealers die as a result. The eight genestealers then strike back - 24 attacks - 16 hit, eight wound and one of which is a rend. The genestealers then reroll the failed wounds and generate four more wounds, one of which we will assume is another rend. The tactical squad loses three Marines to failed armor saves and two more from the rends for a total of five dead. Assume the sergeant survives and then finally swings back with two attacks killing another genestealer - the genestealers win combat by a margin of two wounds for roughly an equal cost between the two units and if the remaining tactical Marines break they will most likely be caught by the genestealers due to their higher initiative (+2).

These first two examples help to illustrate why genestealers can actually be more effective than most might think. Of course there are lots of external factors I did not consider but if we take these two examples as just that I think it helps proves what I'm getting at here.

Third Example - Dark Eldar Trueborn
We all know the current meta build for this unit - a squad of five Trueborn with four blasters riding in a venom with dual splinter cannons. You can take up to three of these units and it's a very popular build playing into the gunboat theory for designing dark eldar armies... This is totally an MSU type of build. While this is an effective build and well proven it misses some of the other good options available to Trueborn which are in many ways the Sternguard of the dark eldar. If you stop to think about it few if any other eldar units have access to as many options as the Trueborn and they can indeed fulfill multiple roles.

 Here is how I run mine:

Drachon - blast pistol & agonizer + phantasm grenade launcher
3x Trueborn w. shard carbine
1x Trueborn w. splinter cannon
4x Trueborn w. blaster
Raider w. dark lance & flickerfield

The unit of Trueborn armed as such can pop armor and are also good at spewing out anti-infantry with the large number of shooting attacks coming from their ranged poisoned weapons. The Drachon armed with the agonizer can finished off wounded monstrous creatures and tough ICs. At first glance this build might seem like its all over the place - a master of none while at the same time attempting to be a jack of all trades... However I have found them to be very effective fielded as such and they are one of my favorite units in my dark eldar army. I'm not advocating that this is a better approach to running your Trueborn - it simply serves as an example to show how you can uniquely and effectively field one unit that has been painted into the proverbial corner when it comes to designing dark eldar armies. Their main weakness is they are fragile to incoming firepower (just as is the case with the standard build) so you have to protect them well to get back their points. This approach is a lot more fun for me to play them and that's just as important to me as fielding a competitive army. Sure they cost a lot more designed as such but that in and of itself does necessarily mean it is not effective or a bad choice.

Final Example - Bloodcrushers versus Dreadnaughts
Here is another Internet myth - Bloodcrushers cannot effectively handle dreadnaughts in melee. Let me say up front my daemon army is comprised solely of Khornate units except for one winged Nurgle daemon prince... As such I'm willing to pay the points to make my Blood Crushers very effective versus just about any unit except for Grey Knight units with Dark Excommunication - there's no way I am aware of to currently get around that one obstacle other than kill it with other units. I knew that dreadnaughts can be a real problem since Blood Crushers have a problem dealing with AV 12|13 in melee.

My solution was as follows - I have a unit composed of four Blood Crushers (one armed with Fury of Khorne) and they are joined by four Khornate Heralds mounted on Blood Crushers - one of which is the Skulltaker while the other three have Unholy Might and Fury of Khorne amongst other very evil daemonic things. Equipped as such the combined unit could and did quickly cut through dreadnaughts like so much tinfoil - even multiple dreadnaughts. I won't go though all the mathammer to prove my point but like I said I never had any problems versus dreadnaughts and I remember one game versus an Ork Kan Wall army - the combined unit of Heralds and Blood Crushers mowed right through them all in a couple of turns. Remember that I said my daemon army is Khornate in theme so the points costed for this build was effective versus most any army I came up against - its not like I was designing a one dimensional army that was only effective versus walkers in melee... I wanted to build a more robust army. To me the army has a true theme unlike the popular Fate Crusher spam that was all the rage a few years back.

I have shown four examples here how to build unique units for 40k that are also effective in terms of overall fielding competitive armies. All of the armies I mentioned here have performed well in either|both local and national events. I think it's possible to design armies that have a unique theme which fits into their background while also being competitive. If you simply want to copy Internet meta lists that are well proven that's all well and good - there is nothing wrong with that approach. If however on the other hand if you want to venture away from the norm you can still be successful if you are willing to give it some serious thought and playtest enough to figure out how to make it all work.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fully Reserved Tyranids versus Mechanized Imperial Guard

BBF here again with some thoughts on how to competively play a reserved Tyranid army versus mechanized Imperial Guard. A lot of these tips are universal and can be applied to playing against other types of armies. You need to closely follow two strict guidelines to make this work:

First the table must have at least 25 percent terrain with some pieces blocking LOS. Tyranids can't win a gun battle trading shots across the table versus Imperial Guard. You need cover to win.

Second you must wisely place your objective markers (OM) forcing the Imperial Guard to come towards your OMs. There is a large number of different scenarios that can occur so I will try to break it down as simply as possible. Typically there are three to five OMs for Seize Ground so you'll be placing 1-2 for three, 2-2 for four and 2-3 for five. If you get to place the majority of the OMs (2 for 3 or 3 for 5) then place yours so they are in positions that you can defend them safely from within cover—usually it's best if you can place your OMs in cover and hidden from your opponent's LOS. You don't want to be too aggressive placing them—if you lose the roll for the choice of your deployment zone then your opponent can turn the table on you... You need to carefully take into consideration what is the actual deployment (Dawn of War, Pitched Battle or Spearhead). If you have to place the minority of objective markers (1 for 3 or 2 for 5) for Seize Ground then you need to be even more careful and again you want to defend yours from within cover. I have found that typically IG players like to cluster their OMs in hope they can deploy first and force you to come to them (very similar to what you're trying to achieve). The main point is you want to place your OMs hidden behind LOS blocking terrain, preferably in cover and make sure to spread them apart—that is don't cluster them close together. Also remember that typically you want to go second which is another good reason not to cluster the OMs.

Fortunately placing objective markers for Capture and Control is much more simple. Place your one OM deep inside your deployment within cover and hidden from LOS if possible. The big advantage here as opposed to Seize Ground is you know ahead of time which deployment zone is yours prior to placing your one OM. You want to place it far back such that your opponent has to move their units via the furthest distance possible to take or contest your OM. This buys you more time to halt the progress of the objective grabbing units.

How IG Takes Objectives & How To Stop Them
It is simple... If you have properly placed your OMs then the IG player must commit some of their units to come at you and take them. They will typically use scoring units mounted in either chimeras and/or Vendettas so you'll need a good means of stopping them dead in their tracks as far away as possible from your OMs. Hive Guard and Zoies are your best as I don't see a Tyrannofex integrating well in a reserved army. Typically you will have to wreck or destroy 3-4 of their transports to force them to footslog on towards your objectives. Once they lose their forward transports they are in for a world of pain.

I think this is also fairly simple as IG give up a lot of killpoints. I have been reconstructing my list to eliminate easy killpoints for my opponents—for example I only run two mycetic spores now and I play more defensively now forcing my opponents to come towards me and my army is composed of 12 killpoints. Versus IG for me in regard to this objective (assuming it's the sole objective) I mainly want to make sure I have a few units left by the end of the game which is not too hard to accomplish if there is some LOS blocking cover.

I have been able to playtest a good number of times now versus mechanized IG and based upon my experience my toughest matchup is still versus Grey Knights followed by Space Wolves then Imperial Guard. Remember what I said in the beginning—25 percent of the table should have terrain with some blocking LOS. I have become more of a defensive player now using this style of play in combination with an army that can be fully reserved. I may start with up to two units on the table but only if my opponent can't shoot them the first couple of turns... So I have some options how I start the beginning of the game which is very helpful. I have four scoring units which is enough for Capture & Control plus Seize Ground. I have some more shooting now in the form of Hive Guard which are very good at what they do best—popping lightly armored transports. The army has come a long way since the beginning and is definitely headed in the right direction. Somd of the major modifications to my army list are based upon advice from other Tyranid players such as Hyv3mynd who also believe that the codex is competitive and have solid winning records at major events.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't Take a Knife to a Gunfight

So last night I had a revelation. I had one of those little gut checks that you get every once in a while to get you back on track and refocus you on what is important. A little 40k epiphany if you will. Haven’t posted on the blog in awhile because life has decided to intercede as is usually the case. So today as I am fixing lunch for my heathen children, this little article has blossomed.

So last night I am playing at the Game Keep. I played a really fun game against Josh (Mexican Templar) and Jeremy (Folken). Romero had the unfortunate luck to get teamed with me. I was playing my Grey Knights and had an 1863 list ready to go. I am preparing for the Battle for Stones River, a tournament that is based around a local Civil War battle. The year and the points are 1863 so that is why we have a funny number.

So here is my GK army and it is by no means a hard army. It is not optimized at all and is built purely for the sake of the models which I absolutely love.

In a nutshell:
X5 Paladins
X6 Termiantors w/ Thawn
X5 Purgators w/ Rhino
X2 Storm Ravens
X1 Dreadknight

I played a similar list at Holiday Brawl this year. I went 0/1/2 for the day. I can pull some minor victories but not majors as the army just does not have enough to finish the job so to speak. Now I know I can add and take away and change it up. That is not why I built the list. I like the models. I don’t want a Libby because everyone plays a Libby. I built the list because I enjoy it and have really enjoyed building and painting the army. But this is not a tournament army. And while I like it and will be playing it a lot it is not what I need to take to the BFSR.

Now before everyone cries foul and says I should not cave to what may be a WAAC mentality. I have to say one thing. I do not like to lose. Al said it last night. I am due. I am good player who is stubborn and needs to step up the level of play. In my defense I do not play a lot but that just makes the decision to take the GK’s even worse. I have maybe 10 games into that army. So I am going to a 70 man tournament with an army that I MAY have 10 games into and I expect to …what? Lose spectacularly. With my Space Wolves. I have almost 2 decades. Now I will not have a spammed out internet list. I still have standards. But I think the Wolves will have to come out for the BFSR. Like Al said it is time and I need to stack the deck as much in favor as I can. I need to go and bring some serious pain to the BFSR and the only way to do it….is the Sons of Russ are coming out of retirement.

So what was this epiphany I had you ask? Playing an army for the models and the fun of it is great for Thursday nights. When the rubber meets the road bring you’re A game to the tournament. The biggest part of that is your A list. Why go to a major tournament and set your expectations to the level of your preparedness. Prepare and set your expectations higher. I also feel I need to channel Doug for this one. Rage is an excellent motivator. I have some mad scientist builds for my Wolves that now need an outlet. Win or lose Chris is coming to compete this year. I think I am due.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tyranids vs. Grey Knights — 2k batrep

I was on travel this week and had some spare time yesterday afternoon. I met up with a friend for a 2000 point game - my reserved Tyranids versus his Crowe-Purifier army.

Here are our army lists:


— Hive Tyrant: wings, twin linked devourers w. brainleech ammo, bone sword + lash whip, adrenal glands, Hive Commander; paroxysm & life leech
— Tyranid Prime: bone sword + lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands, regeneration

— 9x Yrmgal genestealers
— 2x Zoanthrope - mycetic spore
— Doom of Malan'tai - mycetic spore

— 3x Warrior - 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler, bone swords + lash whips, toxin sacs - mycetic spore
— 10x Hormagaunt - adrenal glands & toxin sacs
— 15x termagant - devourers - mycetic spore
— 14x genestealer & Broodlord - scything talons & toxin sacs

Heavy Support
— Trygon Prime - adrenal glands


— Crowe

— Psyfleman Vendread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
— Psyfleman Vendread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo

— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x MC-Hammer, Rhino w/Dozers + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x MC-Hammer, Rhino w/Dozers + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x MC-Hammer, Rhino w/Dozers + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x Warding Stave, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Purifiers - 2x Psycannons, 2x Halberds, 1x Warding Stave, Razorback w/Psybolt Ammo + Searchlights
— 5x Strike Squad - 1x Psycannon, Rhino

Heavy Support
— Psyfleman Dread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
— Psyfleman Dread - 2x TL-Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo

Monday, February 6, 2012

A How To Guide Playing Reserved Tyranids

Hi everyone !!

Instead of watching the Superbowl this evening I figured I'd write another tactical article about how to build and play a reserved Tyranid army list. There is no one right way to play the army but there are choices that can go a long way towards a good build. I have chosen to bring my army to the ATC this year for several reasons. One big reason is that the ATC is both a fun and competitive event that draws a lot of top players from around the country. Another reason is that I am very familiar with the mission format and used theirs as the basis for mine at BeakyCon - this features all three objectives from the rulebook (Killpoints, Capture and Control plus Seize Ground) and they are all equivalent - that is you either win or lose, there is no primary, secondary or tertiary. This type of format does not give an advantage to any type of army. I have only heard good things about ATC and look forward to playing there in Tennessee this summer.

I have learned how to do well in regards to each of the three objectives from the rulebook including killpoints. Killpoints used to be my Achilles' Heel but by dropping one mycetic spore it is now an objective I can win whereas before it seemed to be a foregone conclusion I could never win that one. I have developed some new tactics that are powerful versus mechanized lists. If you think about it most mechanized lists present a plethora of easy killpoints you can score if your army is adapted to take advantage. For example just recently I learned that you decide where to place your Ymrgal genestealers in reserve after both armies have been deployed. I have also started to infiltrate my genestealer brood at times instead of always outflanking them—I will now infiltrate depending upon terrain and how my opponent has deployed. Genestealers can serve the role as a vanguard and sow disruption providing a distraction for other your other units arriving from reserve. As such it's possible to assault with two units during the second turn using the genestealer brood and Yrmgal genestealers. They are both a big threat and cannot be ignored by the opponent. While genestealers excel in melee versus other infantry units they are also able to shred armor due to their high number of attacks coupled with rending. In my opinion this is exactly how genestealers were designed to perform.

My 1850 point List
Here is my most current army list:

Hive Tyrant *: wings, twin linked devourers w. brainleech ammo, bone sword+lash whip, adrenal glands, Hive Commander, Parosym & Life Leech

Tyranid Prime *: bone sword+lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands, regeneration

10x Yrmgal genestealer
2x Zoanthrope * - mycetic spore

15x genestealer incl. Broodlord: scything talons & toxin sacs
3x Warrior *: 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler, bone swords & lash whips, toxin sacs - mycetic spore
15x termagant: devourers - mycetic spore
10x hormagaunt: adrenal glands, toxin sacs - mycetic spore

-Heavy Support-
Trygon Prime * - adrenal glands

These units have Synaspe and Shadows in the Warp.

Like I said above there is no one right list how to play reserved Tyranids and I have solicited advice from those whom I consider to be top Tyranid players. This is my core list and what works the best for me. It is here as a reference for you.

Here are some Tyranid units that should be avoided when building your own reserved army list:


These are all monstrous creatures that are slow and costly plus they have a low initiative. As such they are a liability versus the Space Wolf psychic power Jaws of the World Wolf. You are paying a lot of points for your monstrous creatures and to win you they must perform well on a consistent basis. The last thing you want is for a Space Wolf player to nuke your big nasty at range with a cheap psychic power to which you have no real defense. Tyranid monstrous creatures should be on your front line actively engaged versus the enemy. I only run a Hive Tyrant and a Trygon Prime. My Tyrant is naturally immune to JAWS due to its wings and the Trygon Prime will only fail on a roll of 6 versus JAWS due to being a monstrous creature and I4. The three I have listed above work better in a horde list plus the Carnifex requires the use of a mycetic spore to integrate with a reserved list which gives up another easy killpoint. The Carnifex and Tryannofex are both overcosted as well. Finally note that none of the three listed units have Synapse or Shadows in the Warp - as such they could potentially be a liability at the worst possible moment and again they don't integrate well into a reserved list.

Now that I have provided a sample army list and noted a few units to avoid I'll breakdown the main strengths of the army.

Null Deployment
The first and most powerful strength of this style of play is the use of Null Deployment. By taking a Tyrant with the Hive Commander option all of your reserves will arrive with +1, as such the bulk of your army will arrive on turn 2 and you can saturate the battlefield with more units than your opponent can handle. You should opt to go second if possible since this will deny your opponent two turns of shooting at your army. Your genestealer broods act as a vanguard to neutralize enemy units thus buying another turn for your other units to get stuck in. jy2 has dubbed this strategy the Maximum Threat Overdrive (MTO) and has posted many batreps featuring his Necron armies over on Dakka Dakka that take advantage of this tactic.

Many of my detractors have claimed that my army is devoid of any real threat when it comes to shooting. Let's take a closer look at my core army list again and see what I actually have in the way of shooting and how potent it really is.

• Termagants - 45 S4 shots at 18" range arriving in a spore. This unit will decimate a squad of Long Fangs irregardless of cover. A wise opponent playing a mech list will keep all their infantry embarked in their transports versus this unit which is a serious detriment to Razorfang lists. The unit is relatively cheap for what they provide and can also hold objectives if need be and in the right situation.

• Zoanthropes - This is your primary deterrent versus AV14. Sure it is tough to get a warp lance shot past the Grey Knight psychic defense but in my mind it's still your best shot. The mycetic spore means that you should be able to place your Zoies with a clear unobstructed shot that denies cover saves. I'd love to run a brood of three as opposed to two but the points are very tight. Versus Space Wolves I often use my Zoies to pop the enemy transport carrying the Rune Priest early in the game to negate their rune staff which can be huge since I have an army with a high concentration of psychic units. The Zoies can also soak Space Marine units with their S5 AP3 small blast shooting attack and is more reliable since you don't have to roll to hit.

• Hive Tyrant - six BS 4 S6 shots at 18" range on a flying platform. The Hive Tyrant equipped as such is very versatile. This shooting attack is excellent versus light armor such as razorbacks and I regard it as one of my more effective methods of dealing with mech at range.

• Trgygon Prime - 12 BS3 S5 shots at 18" range. While its not a tank killer it is fairly reliable at glancing light armor. It is one more gun in your arsenal and should not be ignored. You are paying for the upgrade to a Prime and this is one of the main benefits.

• Warriors - Warriors are really only good at shooting infantry. The barbed strangler provides a S4 large blast with 36" range which adds some versatility.

• Mycetic Spores - 6 shots at 6" range that are BS2 S6 AP-. Sure it's not reliable but the high strength can glance or penetrate light transports such as rhinos and chimeras. If you can stun a transport that is potentially one turn you can ignore its contents.

Note that the barbed strangler is pinning weapon while the devourer causes the enemy to suffer -1 Ld when taking a morale check from wounds suffered in the shooting phase.

Synapse and Shadows in the Warp (SitW)
You will have probably noticed I have a high percentage of units with Synapse and SitW. I selected these units primarily based upon other merits such as melee and shooting but on the other hand generally speaking it is not a disadvantage plus your army benefits from being fearless. I don't run a horde list so I don't have to worry much about suffering lots of wounds in melee due to No Retreat armor saves. This is your major psychic defense versus Grey Knights or any army with psykers and my army spreads it all around quite liberally - it can and does win games. I never have to worry about Weaken Resolve which is another useful benefit. Paroxysm (Tyrant) is a very powerful psychic power along with Aura of Despair and Hypnotic Gaze (Broodlord)... All three of these buff your assault phases which has always been a big strength for Tyranids.

Deployment and Mobility
Reserved armies have an inherent strength when it comes to deployment and this is another huge advantage for this style of play... Basically you can ignore all the penalties imposed upon more conventional armies due to deployment. As I said above the vast majority of your army will arrive during the second turn and you can saturate the battlefield to gain advantage from the MTO strategy. Mycetic spores and Trygons deploy like drop pods so they are much less affected by the random chance of a mishap. Yrmgals can move and assault the turn they arrive from reserve. In my mind there are lots of advantages to this style of play. Gaunts, genestealers and Trygons can fleet... If need be all of these units can catch up to vehicles that can only move 12" or less with a good roll for run assuming the vehicle is no more than 18" away at the start of your turn. Obviously the winged Tyrant is fast as well. By combining this mobility with other aspects of your army you can quickly and effectively cover a lot of ground in a single turn. I have had games where my genestealer brood started 24" or more away from an enemy unit at turn four and was able to launch a game winning assault by the last turn... They are not perceived as a threat until its too late.

I played Dark Eldar before I decided to approach Tyranids. One major weakness of dark eldar is an army can die in droves during a single turn if you are careless or just plain unlucky-they are the ultimate glass hammer. I did not know what to expect when I decided to first start playing Tyranids but I have found they are much more resilient and thus much more forgiving. You can lose a couple units due to mistakes or bad luck and still have a good chance to win. This aspect (maybe more than anything else) makes for playing Tyranids more enjoyable for me. I think I have a good ratio of T3-T4-T6 units and a good mix will help to offset any one unit drawing focused fire.

This article was an overview how and why I play my army. I have addressed challenges to its effectiveness as a competitive army.