Here is another in what I hope will be a continuing series of pimping work for others around the net. Josh Rowley a regular reader of Blood of Kittens has a blog inside Librarium-online . Josh wants to know what you think about why it has been hard for players to wrap their heads around the Nid book. Let him know what you think about his insights!

I’ve been looking at a lot of Tyranid lists lately, reading their Codex, playing with Army Builder and so forth. The more I do, the more I feel Tyranids are not all that strong.

This is curious as the “newer” armies are typically the most powerful, with some old armies hanging around. Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Guard are very powerful armies but Tyranids don’t seem to be in that same tier.

Now I’m not saying Tyranids are unplayable but they just don’t seem to have the same POTENTIAL as other new armies. I think this stems from their forced play style and their reliance on Elites, both of which are drawbacks. The other huge drawback is, Tyranids are subject to Instant-Death. This makes all T4 multi-wound models somewhat awful, there is simply to much S8 out and about right now. Warriors, Lictors and Zoanthropes are very good units but have very short like expectancies that cannot be overlooked.

I think the forced play style is another big drawback. You used to be able to run a Nidzilla army, or a pretty successful swarm army. Now, you have to mix. A swarm army cannot live without Synapse, which has to come from an MC, or Warriors realistically. Without other MCs to draw fire, you will quickly be without Synapse, Lurking and charging against your will.

If you run a heavy MC army, you have many drawbacks. You will have almost nothing to score, which matters in 2/3 of games and what you do have will quickly die, as Termagaunts no longer recycle. You’re also rewarding the common tactic of taking many anti-tank guns, these work wonders on MCs, especially when grouped. Even with 1-2 Tervigons you’re vulnerable on objectives according to luck and that will also take bite out of your damage dealing, because such units do nothing but hunker down.

So what is left? Well, trying to balance the two, Swarm and Nidzilla. What does that do?

1. Maximizes every gun an opponent can take by providing targets.

2. Leaves you with either a lack of MCs, or a lack of Swarm, meaning one will be countered swiftly.

3. Opens you up to a smart opponent, knowing what to deal with and what to ignore, because you need to have many one or two off units.

Tyranids are a lot like Eldar, needing many different units to win. Everything has a job, which creates an army wide synergy, just like the fluff suggests. However, unlike Eldar, they do not have overwhelming speed and defensive ability, which is why Eldar work.

Tyranids are not a fast army for the most part. Most units move the standard 6 and run or Fleet. Some move 12″ and run but are not commonly used. This standard speed and random element (running) can split up an army, or slow it down, creating waves which are easier to move against and deal with. Synapse makes this even worse, dictating where your Synapse Creatures can go and what they can do, otherwise other units will suffer and the army breaks down.

I really see the army as the ultimate balancing act. Few if anything can be spammed, movement must be done carefully and you have to make sure every army role is secure against not only shooting and assault, but Synapse and movement. It’s extremely challenging but with no big payoff.

So that’s how I see Tyranids right now. They’re still fairly new and people are seeing what works and what doesn’t but I don’t see them being a heavy hitter. Of course in a local setting they may be top dog, any army can but that doesn’t indicate the armies overall ability, at least not to me.

Anyways, I slept all day after being out late with a lady friend so I didn’t manage to grab my league game or a pick up game. I shall try to get one today and make another battle report, with less awful pictures. I haven’t slept in awhile so hopefully I don’t get crushed due to that. There is a 2500 RTT today so pickings will be slim, but I’ll see what happens.

So comment here or visit his blog at