Tyranid Tactics

The Tyranid army is not for the faint hearted. Be bold! Be decisive! And make the most of your options.

Warhammer 40k Hive Tyrant and Tyranid GuardThese pages are written with the expectation that you own a copy of rules book, a copy of the 2014 Tyranid Codex, and have read them. Having played a few games will help too.

The Tyranid Codex gives the Tyranid army huge amounts of flexibility. You can design your force to suit the style of play that you enjoy most. The cost of this flexibility is the need to spend time and
adapt your models to reflect the special abilities that model has.

As usual, these pages are written with the expectation that you have a copy of the main Warhammer 40k Rule Book and the Tyranid Codex. If you do not have these you will need to get them or have access to them if you have someone you can share with.

2014 Tyranid Codex and the 6th Edition of Warhammer 40k

The new 6th Edition of Warhammer 40k has not been kind to the Tyranid army. The main cause is that the rules are swinging back to favor the shooty army, and Tyranids favor close combat.

Examples of this swing are:

  • The watering down of the Fleet of Foot/Claw rules.
  • The new Overwatch rules
  • The watering down of Close Combat weapon effectiveness.

This all means that as a Tyranid player you have to fall back on the Great Devourers greatest strength, adaptation!

The changes in the 2014 Tyranid Codex have been subtle but when you take an overview it can be seen that this codex placed more priority to troop units, particularly the Termagants and less to the monstrous creatures and special characters like the Doom, which does not appear in this codex at all.

Bring Out The Big Guns!

WH40k Tyranid BiovoreIf the rules are now favouring armies with big guns, then it may be time to adapt the army to have a lot of fire power. These options are in the Tyranid army, it just needs a bit of a change in configuration, and a major change in tactics.

I have updates the general Tyranid Tactics below with some ideas on how configure and win with a shooty Tyranid army.

Examination Of The Tyranid Forces In Detail

The following chapters examines each of the force organization options available.

General Tyranid Tactics

Ok, now we will have a look at some broader tactics for Tyranids. For more detailed tactics please visit the sub-pages. I have detailed the tactics on a unit by unit basis on those pages. However in this section I will be looking at how the whole Tyranid army functions as one.

The Tyranid Hive Mind

Tyranid Warriors herd rippers towards the Orks,One of the core Tyranid features / characteristics, is the ‘Hive Mind’. If there is one feature that you need to get a good with when you are running a Tyranid army, then it is this one!

Basically the Tyranid Leader creatures are needed to keep order in the ranks. They do this my creating a always on psychic bond (no psychic test need) to the lesser creatures within 12″ of them. If the lesser creatures start the movement phase beyond the 12″ Hive mind bubbles then they need to take a leadership test and if they fail the
smaller creatures start following their own instinctive actions.

The problem with instinctive behaviour is that it is not predictable. Half the time the Tyranid will do something bad like run away, go to ground, or start eating each other.

The usual formation when playing Tyranids is to have a Hive mind as a central point and then the smaller creatures with one model in side the hive mind range, generally forward of the hive mind creature. This keeps the smaller creatures in control without bunching then all together.

Because the Hive Mind control is so important to the Tyranid army. You can expect that the opposition will be gunning for your Hive Mind creatures. This means that you will want to give the plenty of cover and you will want to have more than one Hive Mind in your army.

I said earlier that the Hive Mind control extends 12″ in all directions ( 24″ diameter ), however there are a couple of ways to extend this range. The first is that there is a Tyranid ‘Bio Artifact’ upgrade available to some of the HQ creature (one per army) called ‘The Norm Crown’. This gives on of your HQ creatures an additional 6″ range. The other option is that Tyranid Psykers can take the Tyranid Primeris power ‘Domination’. To use this you need to take a psychic test, but if you pass it gives that creature a 6″ to the Hive Mind range too. And yes you can have both together to get a 24″ range (48″ diameter), which will cover most of the table.

Tyranids as a Swam / Assault Army

Warhammer 40k Tyranid Genestealer Broodlord and Genestealer BroodThe Tyranid army is probably the most assault specialised army in the game. Assault armies are devastating close up, but generally to not have much in the way of ranged weapons. This means that you will have to run the enemy’s guns until you get in to close combat.

There are several ways to do this. One is that you have so many troops that your opponent just cannot shoot them all, another is that you use sneaky tactics like infiltration and deep strike, to start closer.

Always try to use the cover available to minimise your casualties.

There are 2 popular choices when it comes to swarm units. There are the Termagants and Hormagaunts. The Termagants come in at 4points each basic. This means that you can get a lot of ‘Gaunts for 1500 to 2000 points. The thing is that each Termagant or Hormagaunt do not pack much punch on their own. This means that you will need to field them in large broods. Broods of 20 to 30 work best. This allows the broods to soak up quite a bit of damage and still be affective.

The main problems that you will have with large swarms like this is that they will be vulnerable to barrage weapons. Flamers can make a mess of then too. The other issue is that is difficult to move large units between cover without leaving some of the unit out in the open.

Tyranids as a Deep strike Army

The Tyranids have more deep strike capabilities than most armies. This comes in several forms, but the effect is the same. Deep Strike comes in the form of Deep striking from winged creatures, or tunnelling from tunnelling creatures!

If you are playing a deep strike army you will want a Tyranid Hive Tyrant on the table as fast as possible. This is because the Tyranid Hive Tyrant has an upgrade that has a special rule that meant that you should get 66% of your reserves on during the second turn instead of the usual 50%.

> Also see Sneaky Tactics.

Tyranids as a Shooty Army

Tyranids are known for being a close assault army. The game tactics are usually to get the army in to close combat as soon as possible with the fewest casualties as possible, and them just feast on the opposition. however the new 6th Edition Warhammer 40k rules is favoring the armies with ranged weapons. Can the Tyranids adapt? Let’s have a look!

Tyranid Shooty Weapons

The Tyranids have 3 broad types of shooty weapons available:

  • Heavy weapons on the monstrous creatures
  • Basic weapons on the smaller brood creatures
  • Ranged psychic powers on the Hive Tyrants, Zoanthropes, and some other Psykers.

Most of the weapons are medium 12″ to 18″ range, so you will need to get fairly close to get your shots in. If you are playing this game then the trick is to get close enough to get your shots in, but far enough out so that you do not loose the charge initiative. One way to do this is to pick off the smaller squads on the outskirts of the enemies forces, and un-pick his formations.

Even if you are looking to field a shooty Tyranid army the speed and cover will still be your best friends.

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