Tyranid HQ Tactics


Warhammer 40k Hive Tyrant and Tyranid Guard

Tyranid Hive Tyrant and two Tyrant Guard.

The Tyranid HQ Choices have been expanded in the 2010 Tyranid Codex. The Tyranid Hive Tyrant is still the standard HQ choice. The Tyranid Warrior, and Genestealer Brood Lord have been move to troop choices, and some truly gigantic new monsters have been added.

The Tyranid HQ choices are the main supply of Hive Mind creatures. These are important in a Tyranid army to keep order over smaller Tyranid creatures, and over half of the choices are ‘Monstrous Creatures’. This means that the Tyranid HQ choices usually double up as heavy support too, carrying the biggest guns in the army, and possibly the biggest assault weapons (36″, AP4, S9, A1 blast) in the game!

> Also See: Tyranid Hive Tyrant
> Also See: Tyranid Tervigon HQ Tactics

General Tyranid HQ Tactics – Warlord Traits

Mk2 Tyranid Hive Tyrant acting as a Tyranid Prime

Winged Mk3 metal Hive Tyrant with Dragon Wings.

A new addition to the 6th edition of the Warhammer 40k rules is the addition of Warlord traits. You can find the Warlord Traits on page 111 of the rules book. Your Tyranid Warlord can take warlord traits in the same way that any other Warhammer 40k army can, or you can choose to roll on the Tyranid Warlord Traits found in the Codex on Page 38. However due to the individual nature of the Tyranid army you may find that some traits are more useful than others.

Tryanid Codex Warlord Trait

The Tyranid Warlord traits have the advantage of being tailor made for the Tyranid army. Traits like the ‘Synaptic Linchpin’ that give the Warlord 18″ Synaptic range is a very useful skill to have. Some of the other skills that are a bit hit and miss with their usefulness, like the ‘Nature’s Bain’ trait is of no use if there are no jungle or woodland terrain pieces on the table. This hit and miss element with the Warlord traits do seem to be a trait of all the Traits.

Tyranids using the Rule Book Warlord Traits

Out of the 3 possible Rule Book Warlord traits the Command Traits are the weakest option for the Tyranid forces as the Tyranids have such good leadership skills already, as long as the Tyranids are within Synapse range. If you do have to select the Command traits for some reason ( for example a scenarios special rules ), there are traits that Tyranids can find useful. It’s just as the selection of the trait is random, there is a higher change of rolling for a ‘dud’ trait.

If you have a sizable proportion of scout and infiltrating troops, for example a Genestealer heavy army, then the Strategic Traits may be your best option. The Strategic Traits have a number of options that help reserve troops, or allow you to have more control over when wand where reserve troops arrive.

If you do not have any reserve troops then the Personal Traits would be recommended. This is specially true as many of the traits are close combat related, and close combat is an area that Tyranids excel in. It is worth noting that a number of the Personal Traits are objective based. This means that you will want to have a couple of game plans mapped out depending on if you roll for a trait that aids the Warlord on a defensive or aggressive role.

Tyranid Hive Tyrant

The Tyranid Hive Tyrant is the classic HQ choice for the Tyranid army. As there is a lot to say about the Hive Tyrant, I have created it’s own section.

> Also See: Tyranid Hive Tyrant Tactics
> Also See: Warhammer 40k Monstrous Creature Tactics

Tyranid Swarmlord Tactics

The Tyranid Swarm Lord is a Tyranid special character very much in the mode of Space Marine named characters. Because of this there are no options, you have to play the creature as you see it, and you can only have one on the table per game.

Special Rules

The Tyranid Swarmlord has A number of special rules.

Bone Sabers

Psychic Monstrosity

18″ synapse and 2 psychic powers per turn.

Swarm Leader

One friendly unit in 18″ can have one of:

  • Monster Hunters
  • Preferred Enemy
  • Furious Charge

Alien Cunning

The Alien Cunning special rule is specially valuable if you have a number of reserve forces in your army. The +1 to the reserve roll means that your reserves will appear 4 in 6 ( 66.66%, 2 in 3 or 2/3rds ) times on each turn instead of the usual 3 in 6 ( 50% or 1 in 2 ) times.

> Also See: Warhammer 40k Monstrous Creature Tactics

Tyranid Tervigon

The Tyranid Tervigon was a new addition to the 2005 Tyranid Codex. However the Warhammer model was not released until a few years later. Since then the Tervigon has proved it’s selfe as a worthy addition to the Tyranid army. As there is a lot to say about the Tyranid Tervigon I created a separate page for it.

> Also see: Tryanid Tervigon Tactics

Tyranid Prime Tactics

Warhammer 40k Tyranid Prime and Tyranid Warriors

Mk1 Tyranid Hive Tyrants make great Tyranid Primes. Here is one with a brood of Mk2 Warriors

A Tyranid Prime is a bigger stronger, tougher, faster Tyranid Warrior. As they are interdependent characters can act alone, or they can be attached to other squads. They are also he cheapest Tyranid HQ choice.

The main advantage of the Tyranid Prime is that they are cheaper in points that the hive Tyrant. This means that they are a better choice for smaller games ( 500 to 1000 points).

Modelling the Tyranid Prime

Games Workshop has not released a model for the Tyranid Prime. One option is to use an older Tyranid Hive Tyrant model for this role. You may still be able to pick these up 2nd hand on EBay or at car boot sales and jumble sales.

Tyranid Prime Special Rules

The Tyranid Prime has a number of special rules that you will need to be familiar with. In addition to these rules the Tyranid Primes also get the Tyranid Warrior special rules.

Alpha Warrior

This special rule means that all the Tyranid Warriors in the unit of Warriors that the Tyranid Prime joins gets a boost to their Weapon Skill and Ballistic skill. This means two things. First, the best place for your Tyranid Prime is with a Tyranid Warrior Brood. Second, the bigger the Brood of Tyranid Warriors that the Tyranid Prime joins, the more leverage this special rules gives you. So by extension, if you where deciding between two broods of 3 Tyranid Warriors, or one Brood of 6 Tyranid Warriors during the army list building phase, then the obvious choice is to go with the brood of 6 if you are adding a Tyranid Prime to the Army too.

Independent Character

One advantage that the Tyranid Prime has over all the other Tyranid HQ choices is that it is an independent character. This means that the Prime can join other units. For example the Tyranid Prime can join a unit of the 3 Carnifex to provide a super heavy weight unit that will absorb a lot of wounds, or a squad of 30 Gaunts. This lets you take any incoming wounds against the Gaunts ( using the ‘Look-out Sir’ special rule ). 33 wound HQ anyone?

> Also See: Tyranid Warriors

Old One Eye

Old One eye is a Tyranid Carnifex character. It ( he? she? ) has been a feature of the Tyranid Codex for a couple of releases, but t is usually a heavy support choice like the other Carnifex. However in the 2014 Tyranid Codex Old One Eye has been promoted to the HQ section.

I am not sure of the value of a HQ choice that does not have Hive Mind powers, specially if this is your only HQ choice (otherwise Old One Eye would not be the Warlord, based on Ld scores). If Old One Eye is a 2nd HQ choice then there may be several better options available.

Deathleaper Tactics

The Deathleaper is a bigger Tyranid Lictor. It does not have Hive Mind Powers, but with LD10 at least it should not be running away as often as Old One Eye.


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