Monday, January 13, 2014

I've got the Tyranid codex figured out!

...or I'm a delusional apologist, who has mastered the art of self-deception....

Whether it was deliberate or not, the design results of this book is to make the Tyranids not particularly stellar at anything, but for them to be very abundant. This thesis hides in plain sight, given how rapid internet analysis seems to myopically focus on individual unit types but failing to see the bigger picture beyond a few unit synergies. The points cost of (almost) everything is discounted, sometimes deeply, and the specialist units are just not as good at what they do as their counterparts are in other armies. It has a lot of players pretty disgusted and frustrated, but it has me intrigued.

I think what Tyranids are going to do especially well is strategic redundancy and contingency plans. Building a lynchpin army around a series of very specialized gimmick units will not work, and that is precisely the way most 40k players think about this game. What will work is a large army full of many models, made up of generalist troop types that can fill each others' roles as casualties mount. Tyranids are not robust, with a deficit of 2+ or Invulnerable units, and an absolute lack of Eternal Warrior. Things are going to die, and that idea is repellent to many players in this age of superhero squads.

Thinking of them as the classic NPC army is not far off the mark. These guys are designed to die, and die a lot, and die some more. Carnifexes are back, 20 points cheaper, but D-cannons and Nemesis weapons abound. They are monsters for the Space Marines to kill, and they are meant to make the other armies look good by comparison.

None of this is to imply that they are incapable of winning games. There is probably as much competitive potential buried in this list as any other, but it is definitely buried in here. Winning with Tyranids is going to mean more than spamming sweetheart units and ignoring others. They have no Heldrake, Riptide, Wraithknight, or Night Scythe. But the implied advantage when you lack the Deathstar is there's no one place for the Rebels to fire their missiles. I'm looking forward to seeing what that means in 40k.

Ultimately, this fits into the current 40k universe by marking the Tyranids out to be a unique and alien species whose combat doctrine flies in the face of the accepted methods of other species.

So that's what it is, and Tyranid players can, as always, adapt or die. :)