One of the most ambitious Games Workshop digital releases this year has been the Rising Leviathan series, and finally the last Dataslate is out for consumption. The Rising Leviathan are large format Dataslates, but like all Dataslates come in either a Ipad or eBook version.
Rising Leviathan is a continuous story, with the third installment Tyranid Onslaught being all-encompassing, but with a focus on Synapse creatures. 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 Onlsaught has about 52 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 Imperial opponents. Dataslate: Tyranid Onlsaught background helps to get players invested, before trying out the missions and Formations presented.
Information torn from the brains of fallen prey leaders had told the Hive Mind all it needed to know. Its victims could not escape the destruction of their world.
Dataslate: Tyranid Invasion Contents
Chapter I: Introduction
Chapter II: Rising Leviathan -- Onslaught
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. 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 planet size jungle that produces a unique sunscreen against radition, 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 pretty damn Sci-fi.
In the typical GW fashion, the 1st person perspective is interspersed within a historical retelling of the events. The story for Dataslate: Tyranid Onlsaught continues Brother Corbulo's attempts to hold off the Tyranids just long enough to extract important personnel and data to reproduce the sunscreen. The chapter reads a lot like the opening of the Empire Strikes Back evacuation of Hoth. Throw in a last-minute rescue by Terminators and you even have all the standard Space Marine heroics. There is also the Hive Mind tactics at work, breathing the deviousness into Tyranids psyche. Add in the vision of Satys being devoured, it becomes quite clear just how futile it is to resist the Hive Fleet.
Somewhat amusing though is the attempts made to sell the reader on specific models; reading like product placement in a bad movie.
Chapter three contains five Formations you can read about below.
Formation: 1 Tyranid Warrior Brood, 3 Carnifex Broods, 1 Tyrannofex
Formations Restrictions: The Tyranid Warrior Brood in this Formation must include a model that has taken an item from the Basic Rio-cannons list.Carnifex models in this Formation must take at least one option from the Monstrous Rio-cannons list.
Special Rules: Bio-delnge
All units in this Formation have the Split Fire special rule.In addition, models in this Formation that are within 12" of this Formation's Tyranid Warrior Brood can re-roll failed To Wound rolls of 1in the Shooting phase.
Analysis: This Formation has interesting dynamics, it rewards players taking different sets of weapons, specifically on the Carnifexes. You can also shoot one weapon at one target and still shoot another just to Assault it. The biggest drawback with this Formation is the amount points you are going to invest in creating it. Look to use it in 1850+ games because you are still going to take other Heavy Support units to fill your regular slots.
Formation: 1 Tyranid Warrior Brood, 3 Carnifex Broods
Formations Restrictions: The Tyranid Warrior Brood in this Formation cannot take items from the Basic Bio cannons list. Canifex models in this Formation cannot take options from the Monstrous Bio-cannons list.
Special Rules: Rampage of Destruction
Carnifexes in this Formation inflict D3+1 Hammer of Wrath hits instead of the usual D3. In addition, models in this Formation that are within 12" of this Formation's Tyranid Warrior Brood can re-roll failed To Wound rolls of 1 in the Assault phase.
Analysis: This is a difficult Formation to use. Tyranid Warriors aren't the best Assault units, unless you spend a lot of points and getting Preferred Enemy would make things more appealing. The extra Hammer of Wrath attack isn't all the great in the greater context of things. Now, if this Formation had a special rule to make the units move faster you would have something, but as it is points are better spend on other Formations or units.
Formation: 1 Hive Tyrant, 1 Tyrant Guard Brood, 1 Venomthrope Brood
Formations Restrictions: The unit of Tyrant Guard must include three models. The Hive Tyrant cannot be equipped with Wings.
Special Rules: Command Node
The Hive Tyrant in this Formation adds 6" to its synapse range
Analysis: This Formation is a good way to get a ground based Hive Tyrant without giving up your other HQ slots. The other models required for the Formation are no brainers to making a foot-slogging Hive Tyrant effective. The big bonus is getting the extra synapse range. Now, if you are anti-Tervigon you can take this bad boy instead with the Norn Crown and Dominion for 30" Synapse!!
Formation: 1 Trygon Prime, 1 Trygon, 1 Mawloc, 3 Ravener Broods
Formations Restrictions: None
Special Rules: They Came from Below...
All units in this Formation must be placed in Reserve. Make a single Reserve Roll for the entire Formation. When the Formation arrives from Reserve, deploy the Trygon Prime first, by Deep Strike, using its Subterranean Assault special rule. Once the Trygon Prime’s final position has been established, the Formation’s three Ravener Broods immediately enter play.
Place the Ravener units so that all of their models are wholly within 6” of the Trygon Prime’s base and in unit coherency. These models cannot be placed within 1” of enemy models or within impassable terrain; if any models cannot be placed, these excess models are removed as casualties. The Formation’s Ravener Broods cannot move in the Movement phase or charge on the same turn they arrive, but can shoot or Run.
The Formation’s Trygon and Mawloc enter play via Deep Strike as usual.
Analysis: What a fun Formation! Not only does it give Trygons something to do, but it also makes Raveners playable. It removes the annoying layered reserve restriction for bringing in units from Trygon tunnels, at least for the Formation units. The threat of this coming up is devastating; forcing your opponent to spread out to block the Deep Strike. You can even use the Mawloc to clear room for your Deep Strike if need be! Depending on tactics taking a Comm Relay should be considered.
Formation: 1 Tyrant Node, 1 Synaptic Swarm (see Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II), 3 Endless Swarms (see Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II), 1 Wrecker Node, 1 Skyblight Swarm (see Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II)
Formations Restrictions: The units in this Formation must adhere to all of the restrictions detailed in each of the corresponding Formation datasheets. The units in this Formation retain all of the special rules specified in the corresponding Formation datasheets. In addition, the following special rules apply:
Special Rules: Fear, Synaptic Command Network, The Swarm Unleashed
As long as the Hive Tyrant from the Tyrant Node Formation has not been removed as a casualty, then all other Synapse Creatures from this Formation that are within its synapse range add 6" to their own synapse range.
As long as the Hive Tyrant from the Tyrant Node Formation has not been removed as a casualty, you can re-roll failed results when rolling to see if a Termagant, Hormagaunt or Gargoyle Brood from this Formation that has been completely destroyed is replaced (see the Endless Swarm or Skyswarm special rules in Tyranid Invasion - Rising Leviathan II).
Analysis: Dumb, Money Grab, Lazy, and did I mention Money Grab?
The chapter four our the missions. The two missions presented attempt to directly mirror events in the fluff.
Echos of War Mission: Jaws of the Devourer
This mission has the Tyranid player using the Wrecker Node or Subterranean Swarm Formations. The other side is Imperial Guard with Space Marine or Blood Angel allies. This mission is an objective based, with the Tyranid player automatically replacing dead Troops. No one can Outflank as well. The advantage the Imperial player gets is being allowed any number of Fortifications without any cost. This kind of opened ended bonus is very hard for players to judge exactly what is balanced. This is classic GW though, and fits in perfectly with the model name dropping in the story section just to get players buying specific fortifications.
Echos of War Mission: Victory or Death
This mission pits Tyranids with the Tyrant Node Formation against Imperial Guard and two ally detachments. The mission is a recreation the Imperial last stand. The objective for the Tyranid player is table his opponent while the Imperial player must survive. To help the Tyranid player is endless units and deployment on both short edges with the Imperial forces in the middle! The Imperial forces get Zealot for the entire force. This mission looks like a ton of amazing, and can easily be adapted for any set of armies. My biggest suggestion would be not allowing flyers on the defender side, because they can easily keep flying them off and on if they go second.
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 Onslaught is a commendable end to this epic Dataslate series. The formations are not game changing, but provide some versatility for Tyranid players. The story itself feels a bit rushed and the product placement brings the Dataslate down overall. Dataslate: Tyranid Onslaught won't be judged by itself, but taken as whole with the other parts of the series. If you are a devote Tyranid player this whole series is a must buy, because the story has a distinct Tyranid feel and the Formations play like a second codex for everything Buggers felt were missing.
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