Tyranid Carnifex Tactics

Carnifex Warhammer 40k Tyranid Heavy Support option

How to use the Tyranid Carnifex to maximum efficiency in a Warhammer 40000 game!

The Tyranid Carnifex is one of the Iconic models in the Tyranid army. Now you can have three per brood, but the point cost has risen.

The Tyranid Carnifex and the Hive Mind

The Tyranid Carnifex Leadership is not particularly high. This means that it is risky to have the Tyranid Carnifex out side of Hive Mind zone. One tactic here is to place the Tyranid Carnifex in front of your Tyranid Hive Tyrant. This gives the Tyranid Hive Tyrant some solid cover, and it allows you have a solid core for your Tyranid army that you can surround with your smaller Tyranid creatures.

Tyranid Carnifex Special Rules

The Tyranid Carnifex comes with a few special rules.


The Tyranid Carnifex get the ‘Fearless’ special rule. This gives you some advantages if the Tyranid Carnifex strays outside of the Hive Mind controlled area.

Living Battering Ram

One of the weaknesses of the Tyranid Carnifex is that they have a low initiative score. This special rule gets the Tyranid Carnifex an even fight with a Imperial Guard trooper! Be aware that this will be negated if you have to assault over cover (So the Guardsman will still probably still strike first!)

Tyranid Carnifex Strength and Weapons

The Carnifex has a number of weapon choices that you can choose from. What weapon choices you take will depend on the opponent that you are facing. The detail for these weapons can be found on page 81 to 83 of the Tyranid

Scything Talons

The default weapons on the Carnifex is two sets of Scything Talons. These are close combat weapons, so if you stay with the basic options you will need to make sure that your Carnifex will get in to close combat range on a regular basis, and early enough in the game to be worth the points.

Crushing Claws

The Crushing Claws upgrade gives you a small random number of additional close assault attacks. As this is a close combat upgrade, it’s value is determined by the number of times that you get in to close combat.


The Deathspitter is similar to the Deathspitter that the smaller Tyranid creatures get, however the Carnifex gets twin-linked Deathspitters. This is just as well as the Carnifex’s BS3 score means that you will only hit 50% of the time. The re-roll will mean that instead of expecting 1.5 hits per turn you can expect 2.25 hits ( ie about 2 per turn and 3 hits about every 4 turns you shoot).

If you take two sets of Deathspiters then this rate of hits will double, but you loose your close combat weapons.

The strength and AP of a Deathspitter is not over awesome either. Basically they are 18″ heavy bolters. The usual opinion is – don’t bother!


Stranglethorn Cannon

Heavy Venom Cannon

Carnifex Toughness Armour and Bio-morphs

Carnifex Warhammer 40k Tyranid Heavy Support option

Mk3 Tyranid Carnifex.

The Tyranid Carnifex has quite a few upgrade options. Be careful with the upgrade options. The Tyranid Carnifex are expensive in points, so upgrades need to be thought out before use.

Adrenal Glands

Frag Spines

Frag Spines count as assault grenades. This option mat be worth it is you assault over cover on a regular basis,
however I tend not to bother and accept that I will be striking last. The Carnifex’s toughness and wounds are usually high enough to take punishment before you strike back.

Toxin Sacs


The Bio-Plasma upgrade is a Biomorph rather than a weapons upgrade. Just like the spine banks. This means that you can take it in addition to the main weapons. This is good because as a Monstrous Creature the Carnifex can fire two weapons a turn.

So, is the Bio-Plasma weapon worth taking? Well for 20 points you get a short range blast weapon. This means that you can not use it for over watch, but you have to be in Assault range to use it (and it may scatter back on to you). However it is a S7 blast weapon so it is good for thinning out the opposition before you Assault. However this seems to be too smaller a return for the points cost. 


Tyranid Old One Eye Tactics

Old One Eye is a unique creature, so you can only have one in your army. Also as it is a special character, there are no options with Old One Eye. You get fixed list of Biomorphs and special rules. This means that other players that know the Tyranid rules will know exactly what this creature has, and may have some counter measure in store for you.

Old One Eye Strengths and Weapons

Old One Eye is armed with close combat weapons. This means that the best place for Old One Eye is in a fight. Actually the best fight for Old One Eye is in an assault with a tank. Even Space Marine Land Raiders will crack apart easily enough. The trick will be to get Old One Eye in to position. As Old One Eye does not have any shooing weapons, you may as well run in each shooting phase.

Old One Eye Toughness and Biomorphs

Old One Eye is a Tyranid Carnifex, so by default it has the Tyranid Carnifex toughness too. As usual this means that lasguns and bolters will wound on 6’s but S10 weapons kill not instant kill.

Berserk Rampage

Old One Eye gets a special rule called Berserk Rampage. This allows extra attacks each round. If you add this to the extra attacks that Old One Eye may get for having Crushing Claws, this means that you will have between 6 and 16 attacks on the charge, with an average of 9.25 attacks on the charge and 8 attacks after that. Also remember that Old One Eye has Scything Talons, so some of the misses may be able to be re-rolled too. Also as usual Old One Eye gets armour that is as tough as a Space Marine. This means that all the weapons that slice through Power Armour will slice through the Tyranid Bonded Exoskeleton too. There are no Invulnerable save options either. This means that you need to use what ever cover is available, even if this is only the smaller Tyranid creatures in front.

Rapid Regeneration

Old One Eye gets a special rule called Rapid Regeneration. This is like the Regeneration biomorph upgrade that you can get for a Tyranid Carnifex, but it works on 5’s and 6’s. This means that each wound will recover 1 in 3 (or 33%) of the time. Or put another way, if Old One Eye has lost 3 wounds, you could expect to see one wound re-heal.

To counter this your opponents will (or should) blast Old One Eye with every heavy weapon available to take off all the wounds off Old One Eye in one turn. This will mean that you will not get a chance to regenerate. You mission will be to see if you can duck for cover after taking a wound or two so that you can regenerate & come back fighting.

Other Old One Eye Special Rules

If all of that was not enough, Old One Eye has some other tricks up it’s sleeve / claw too.

Alpha Leader Special Rule

Old One Eye gets an interesting special rule called Alpha Leader. This is like the leadership that you find with other armies, sometime called inspiring leadership. Basically it means that Old One Eye can keep the Army together a bit better if there is no Synapse available. This in turn means that having Old One Eye on a flank instead of in the core of the Tyranid force will help you expand your area of control over a larger section of the gaming table.