Sunday, 12 January 2014

Codex: Tyranids - some initial thoughts?

Yesterday saw the release of Codex: Tyranids - possibly the most-hyped 6th edition codex to date. The forums have been burning with comments on the lead-up: unusually, the pre-release discussion (at least to me) seemed to be almost universally positive. This appears to have abruptly changed in the last week or so, as the final rules were released and people got their hands on the actual codex.

My Hivefleet Behemoth army: now several years old,
including metal Tyrant, Hive Guard and Tyrant Guard

Well, I picked mine up yesterday and have scanned through it. I'm not going to do an in-depth review - there are plenty of those on the internet already - but rather present some initial observations on the codex.

Firstly, I have to say that I'm a little disappointed by the release. Yes, there have been some general point reductions, but these are typically minor and often come at a wider/longer-term cost. For example, Termagants and Hormogaunts have gone down in cost: but their (pretty essential) biomorph upgrades have sometimes gone up...

I already own a reasonable-size Hivefleet Behemoth army, but with the general enthusiasm for the new codex I was initially planning to Ebay it, and start all over again. I thought that this army would be a planned build, and that I'd paint it up in the original Space Hulk genestealer colours: imagine a Hive Tyrant in dark blue and purple...

But on reading the Codex, I'm not going to do that. I'll pretty much keep my existing army, perhaps tweak some units here and there, but there is nothing in it that screams out a new build or suggests that I should invest hundreds of hours into building a new army...

Secondly, GW just don't seem to "get" Tyranids! Every edition it's the same, more or less. 6th edition has just highlighted lots of their difficulties. They are a close combat army with some shooting potential; and should have lots of ways of being played. Monstrous creatures, a sea of smaller Tyranids, etc... But GW constantly undermines the 'Nids CC powers... They are basically just not scary in close combat, and every edition they get worse at doing what they are supposedly best at...

The lack of allies and fortifications is now (insanely!) made even worse by the removal of main rulebook psychic powers!!! Just why? The 'Nid book powers are almost uniformly uninspiring as well - rehashed old codex powers, which have been mainly neutered as well.

My suggestion: if Tyranids don't get access to any of the "upgrades" that other armies can, then make their Codex really strong!

Thirdly, this codex just feels like change for the sake of it. I had the same feeling, to a degree, with the Space Marine codex - but the addition of the Chapter Tactics rules kind of justified the new book for that army. Here, we have pretty much the same army lat tweaked with the addition of the Haruspec, Exocrine, Crone and Harpy.

There have been several removals from the codex as well: no Doom of Mal'antai, no mycetic spore, etc. I take it that this is because of the Chapterhouse Studios lawsuit, but it's a shame because so many dedicated hobbyists have created their own versions of these characters. These gave the 'Nids some real uniqueness. Instead, we now have Red Terror (with an ancient sculpt!), Old One Eye (with a suggested plastic build from the Carnifex box), and Deathleaper. Such a shame to lose the older characters though - I built some of them for a client last year.

Fourthly (and I know that this is very specific) but they nerfed the Tervigon!

A Carnifex conversion I made with the last codex: the rear egg sac is a resin cast

That's right, the only really good unit in the Tyranid book suffers from a pretty steep price increase. It has lost access to crushing claws, and it's psyker level can't be improved. Worst of all, it can only be a troop choice with a brood of 30 Termagants now.

Another Tervigon conversion:
using the old Chapterhouse conversion kit, and a very glossy Gant
I know that the Tervigon was subject to being spammed. We've all seen (usually net) lists purporting to take several of them, and some players routinely take 2-3 per game. It is a unique model, and a very nice one - but these rule shifts will probably see less of them on the table I'd say.

So, what is the future for my Tyranid army? I'll be selling off my Tervigons, I think - not actually because of the rule changes, but because I really wanted a proper GW Tervigon. I will be adding a Haruspex - again, not because of the rules but because of the model. Perhaps a Crone at some point. But this new codex really just doesn't inspire me, and I won't be ploughing hours of hobby time into a whole new army.

Now, back to painting Mongoose's Judge Dredd miniatures...


  1. Hi, good article. Do you know that you've posted exactly the same detail as Fritz at Fritz40k? I assume you haven't heard Fritz's YouTube discussion or read his posts, the argument here it remarkably similar.
    All valid points never the less, I agree you should use the same army as the more recent stats are the same, perhaps with a big bug or two more.

    1. Hey, thanks for comment. No, I'm don't know Fritz40K - but maybe great minds think alike!?! Just seems like a wasted opportunity to make the Tyranids something really unique (in a good way)....