So the new Tyranid Codex has been released, and there is much talk floating around the internet about the book and from what I've encountered its pretty negative. I've never used the Nids before, and only ever played against them once with the old Tau codex and got hammered. With the release our Tyranid player Jacob offered me to a game, and choosing my Krohmus Guard I duly accepted. First of all, thoughts on the Codex pregame.
Jacob mentioned that a fair whack of the codex had been copied and pasted from the previous dex. This is unfortunate, but it is a nicely put together book regardless and I'm sure if you're a newcomer to gribblies, you'll enjoy the book immensely.
Rules wise its hard to offer much as I don't have much experience with them. I've always felt that things with a toughness and wounds beats out armour, as its incredibly hard to kill them on one turn unlike vehicles where you can penetrate and explode them. Many of the big nasties in the nid book are toughness 5-6 with 5-6 wounds, thats a lot of firepower to down these beasts. To me, a mix of big and small nids would be the most appealing army, perhaps not competitively but just for fun. Lots of little guys being goaded forward by synapse seems like a great image, tearing their way towards an unfortunate gunline where they either get shot down or overwhelm the defenders.
As always, the art is fantastic and this piece with the nids taking on orks really caught my eye. The map of tendrils attacking areas of space was nice too and theres plenty of eye candy in the book.
So onto the battle then. We'd decided to do 1500 points, and not having any idea what Jacob was taking I went for a list designed to dent them early on and hopefully deal out enough firepower to slowly mow the numbers down as they advanced. My list was:
Barebones librarian, 2 tactical squads, one in a drop pod, dreadnought with TL heavy flamer and heavy flamer in a drop pod, predator with AC and HB's, 8xdevastators with 4 missile launchers, 10 scouts with rifles, missile launcher and telion, 5 bikers with two gravguns and combi grav and ten legion of the damned with flamer and heavy flamer.
The basic thought was to use the bikers to pick on something big and take it out in one go, with some supporting fire if needed. The dread would come down and torch a big unit of gaunts that are closest to my main block of troops and the legion of the damned would either act as a screen coming down near my main force or deepstrile behind to try and distract and cause as much damage as possible.
I deployed and Jacob set up his force. 3 Tervigons, 3 Zoanthropes, about 80-90 termagaunts, an exocrine, and deathleaper stood across from me or were in reserves.
First turn and the Dread droppods near a huge guant unit and torches a good 12-15 of them, but the nearby Tervigon charges in and damages the dread. I was lucky not to lose it in one turn as Jacob had two pens but didn't get to explode it. The bikers revved forward and unleashed a torrent of gravfire at the right most tervigon, killing the beast. My scouts targeted the Zoanthrope to the right, a krak missile finding its mark and instant killing the xenos. I managed to take a couple of wounds off the exocrine but it regenerated back up to 5. The nids rushed forward, gaunts mainly running forward to close ground to get ready to attack. One tervigon however rolled a double to spawn and would be unable to create anymore, whereas the other created 9 guants.
Tactical squad in drop pod deployed to the west, hoping to pile in some firepower using the Tactical Doctrine. The firepower tore apart guants but 9 still stood and charged the tactical squad in return. The bikers redployed and unleashed more graviton firepower, this time at the exocrine. Fairly poor dice rolling only took two wounds off, although the scouts managed to take another two off leaving it on just one wound. The predator fired and failed to do anything. The only thing left that could do anything was a lascannon toting tactical marine. I unleashed the shot, hit, but rolled a one to wound. Dammit! The Exocrine regenned two wounds to take it back up to 3, and blew up a few of my devastators, cover saving them from all being wiped out. The main Tervigon finished off my dreadnought and stormed alongside the gaunts assaulting my tactical marines. It managed to kill one marine after Jacob rolled badly but I did no damage back, mainly through a power that took my WS and BS down to just 1! I did kill a couple of gaunts and lost another marine.
The Legion of the Damned appear at the back of the Tyranid line engulfing some gaunts in prometheum, then get assault by a tervigon and later on two units of gaunts, one from reserve and one spawned by said Tervigon. True to legend, they sponge up a tremndous amount of attacks and I only lose three for the rest of the game. They take out a unit of gaunts, leave the other with just a couple of models and keep a Tervigon locked in combat. Distraction and spongeness complete!
The bikers got assailted by a huge unit of gaunts, and I lost two in the first turn of combat but managed to kill a few in return. The gaunts were having a lot of trouble wounding the T5 bikers though so I felt safe they'd survive. A drop pod stormbolter killed a last gaunt to get a kill point, and the exocrine was finally finished off before it could wipe out my devastators. They however had a huge unit of gaunts and deathleaper to worry about. I advanced my Librarian and tactical squad out of the ruins on the right to back up the other tactical squad. I'd gained Iron Arm for the libby and was confident he could deal some damage to even the bigger beasties.
Deathleaper and the gaunts assaulted my Devs and took them down to two models, while my bikers stood resolute and unharmable almost to the other unit of gaunts, but only managed to kill a few due to lack of attacks. The Tervigon to my right was unable to cause enough wounds to the tactical squad to wipe them out, and the game ended before my libby could test his strength against something juicy.
We ended the game and I was up about 8-2, I was close to losing a couple of units but I'd done enough damage to blunt the Tyranid attack... for now!
Jacobs overall thoughts on the army is that they've been nerded, and I can see what he means. However Jacob hasn't played very often and is a little rusty of the rules. I think diverting a tervigon away from the main advance to take care of my legion of the damned wasn't a good move, but I don't think he realised just how durable a unit they are. Taking out a tervigon and zoanthrope in the first turn was inlucky too, but now he knows how deadly Gravguns are and if he has the choice will take the first turn to try and deal with them. After he's had a few more games it'll be interesting to see if he still has the same view or not. Hopefully not and he'll have found his footing witht he army again and get back to his biomass collecting ways!
From my perspective it was an enjoyable game, seeing a wave of gaunts and some bigger beasts across from me was unnerving, and I did wonder if my force would be any good. It proved to be fairly effective however with most of the units doing well. I look forward to more games against Jacob as he's always fun to play against, and when he gains some confidence I'm sure his tactical gribbliness will be hard to beat!