One of the most ambitious Games Workshop digital releases this year has been the Rising Leviathan series, with the last installment finally coming out this weekend. Rising Leviathan are a larger Dataslate format, but like all Dataslates comes in either a Ipad or eBook version.
The Dataslates are a continuous story, with the second installment Tyranid Invasion focusing on central invasion units of a Hive Fleet, like Tervigons, Warriors, and Fast Attack slots. Rising Leviathan chronicles a Hive Fleet devouring the planet Satys.
If you choose the eBook version you get more pages, with individual gallery pictures and glossary filler, where the iPad version has the same information integrated into pop-up widgets. Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion has about 48 pages of real content. The major selling point with the Rising Leviathan Dataslates is the campaign meant to be played by Tyranid players against a variety of opponents. Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion background helps to get players invested, trying out the missions and formations presented.
The Leviathan regarded the world below, absorbing developments with a speed that belied its immeasurable enormity. The prey were proving tenacious, yet still it mattered little.
Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion Contents
Chapter I: Introduction
Chapter II: Rising Leviathan -- Invasion
Chapter III: Formations
Chapter IV: Echoes of War Missions
Chapter V: Showcase
Chapter VI: Glossary
The first chapter is nothing more than the rules for using Dataslates and Formations, it is the same information you find in every Dataslate.
The second chapter, Rising Leviathan sets the stage for the missions later in the book and is a compelling read. The planet targeted for nom-nom is Satys a slightly radioactive place, stuffed with ancient ships embedded deep in the planet's crust. These archeoships keep one half the planet in perpetual darkness, while the other side is bombarded by radiation from the local sun. What makes Satys even more interesting is the irradiated side has a tree that produces radiation sunscreen, making it a vital planet to the Imperium.
Of course, this is all inconsequential to any biomass hungry Hive Mind, but important for the missions and is as Sci-fi as can be.
In the typical GW fashion, the 1st person perspective is interspersed within a historical retelling of the events. The story for Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion starts off with a bang, as the Blood Angels enter the fray, lead by the always heavy blood drinker, Brother Corbulo. As things continue, the story alternates between Corbulo's Blood Angels and the Hive Mind adapting and trying to anticipate the Space Marines next moves. At this point the defenders from Dataslate: Tyranid Vanguard are reduced to bit players.
The Imperium's cold calculation is on full display, as Corbulo has been sent to the planet to retrieve samples, data, and personnel to reproduce the radiation protection found on the planet. Corbulo is also under the clock, needing to accomplish his mission before leaving Satryx to it's demise. Having Corbulo is a great way to get just not Tyranid players into the Dataslate. The story, as always, is the basis for missions found later.
Chapter three contains five Formations you can read about below.
Formation: 1 Tervigon, 3 Termagant Broods
Formations Restrictions: None
Special Rules: Hyper-progenitive
When rolling to see how many Termagants the Tervigon from this Formation spawns, you must re-roll any rolls of a 1.
Analysis: This Formation has unintended consequences; being forced to re-roll 1s only increases the risk of getting doubles to end Termagant generation. If this was a "may" you would have a flexible bonus where the player decides what risks to take. In addition, unless you are playing super large games you won't need the extra units this Formation provides.
Formation: 1 Tyranid Prime, 3 Tyranid Warrior Broods
Formations Restrictions: None
Special Rules: Synaptic Conduits
All models in this Formation have a synapse range of 18".
Analysis: This is a great Formation if you are having trouble getting a Tyranid Prime into your lists. You can still take two flying Hive Tyrants and have a super flexible synapse Prime. This also doesn't stop the Prime from taking the Norn Crown for mega synapse! The Tyranid Warrior brood tax is the only thing really keeping this Formation back, but won't take up your other Troop slots in the process.
Formation: 1 Hive Tyrant, 1 Crone, 2 Harpies, 3 Gargoyle Broods
Formations Restrictions: The Hive Tyrant must take the Wings Biomorph.
Special Rules: Objective Secured, Skyswarm
All Gargoyle units from this Formation have the Objective Secured special rule.
A unit with this special rule controls Objective Markers even if an enemy scoring unit is within range of the Objective Marker, unless the enemy unit also has this special rule.
Each time a Gargoyle Brood from this Formation is completely destroyed, roll a D6: on a 4+ you can immediately place a new unit into Ongoing Reserve that is identical in terms of the original number of models, weapons and upgrades to the unit that was just destroyed. These new units count as being part of the original Formation, so roll a D6 as described above if they are subsequently destroyed. Victory points are awarded as normal for new units in this Formation that have been completely destroyed.
Analysis: This is the most game changing Formation yet for any Dataslate. Not only does Tyranids get objective claiming denial Gargoyles, but also access to a third Hive Tyrant! This Formation easily makes Nids top-tier army. No longer can opponents swoop in for late objective grabs for starters. It could be harbinger of things to come with the rumored 6.5 40k rules. The only drawback is having to take the other flying monstrous creatures, it just means the Formation works best in larger games. But really, does it hurt that having to take more Crones & Harpies in your army?
Formation: 1 Exocrine, 3 Biovores, 1 Tyranid Warrior Brood
Formations Restrictions: The Tyranid Warrior Brood in this Formation must include a model that has taken an item from the Basic Bio-cannons list.
Special Rules: Organic Bombardment
All ranged weapons fired by models in this Formation have the Pinning special rule. In addition, models in this Formation that are within 12" of this Formation’s Tyranid
Warrior Brood can re-roll the scatter dice when firing weapons with the Blast or Barrage special
Analysis: If you like dropping mass blast markers this is the Formation for you. Even the Tyranid Warrior tax is worth taking, being able to re-roll the scatter die can be pretty powerful especially with the low BS most Tyranids have. The Formation also opens up your Heavy Support slots, leaving you take whatever you want or worse a fourth Exorine!
Formation: 3 Hormagaunt Broods, 2 Termagant Broods, 1 Tyranid Warrior Brood
Formations Restrictions: None
Special Rules: Endless Swarm
Each time a Hormagaunt or Termagant Brood from this Formation is completely destroyed, roll a D6: on a 4+ you can immediately place a new unit into Ongoing Reserve that is identical in terms of the original number of models, weapons and upgrades to the unit that was just destroyed. These new units count as being part of the original Formation, so roll a D6 as described above if they are subsequently destroyed. Victory points are awarded as normal for any new units formed.
Analysis: This Formation brings some classic Tyranid rules back. The Formation is pretty damn good giving you a fairly reliable supply of scoring units to press your enemy with. Make sure you pick your unit sizes right because clever opponents will keep these units alive just long to stop you from fully utilizing the re-spawn. Tyranid players also cannot assume they will get these units back and should plan accordingly.
The chapter four our the missions. The two missions presented attempt to directly mirror events in the fluff.
Echos of War Mission: The Swarm Unleashed
This mission has the Tyranid player using one of the formations. FIghting against the Tyranids are Imperial Guard with Space Marine allies. This is an objective based mission with a good twist. In addition, to all the standard stuff both players must take addition forces to arrive later in the game entering each others deployment zones. This is to represent a Tyranid surprise attack and the Blood Angel's arrival. As long as you discuss what is in the extra forces with your opponent, the Swarm Unleashed is a great mission.
Echos of War Mission: Into the Jaws of the Beast
This mission pits Tyranids vs. Blood Angels. The mission has the Blood Angel player trying to discovery which of the six objectives is the right stash. This is a pretty standard Echos of War mission found from other sources. Capture the right objective and win the game. This mission might be fun for the Blood Angel player, it leaves little for the Tyranid player to do, but get First Blood. If this mission was in a Blood Angel supplement it wouldn't be a problem, but the Tyranids should be the stars of their own Dataslate.
Chapter five is the showcase of Tyranids we have already seen on the GW website a million times over. The Dataslate then ends with the Glossary of Redundancy.
Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion is certainly the Empire Strikes Back of the Rising Leviathan series. The fluff brings in a familiar face to get non Tyranid players interested. The Formations are what Tyranid players have been hoping for since being gut punched by the new Codex. The first mission, as well, has a lot of replay value. This Dataslate will end up having great implications, perhaps the turning point for Dataslates in tournaments. This is a side effect of beating a supposedly underpowered codex down before giving it a real chance. Overall, Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion is a great Dataslate no matter how you look at it. Now if only the it was a few bucks cheaper GW could convince the masses.
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