I already posted this on the Tyranid Hive, as well as the Warmaster. Once one more copy-pasta? Does anyone else get this in depth with their lists?
Ok, here we go, as promised. I should probably just make a post in the tactics section that says "Here's some ideas for CC 'Nids!" Oh wait, I've now copy and pasted this. It's a thing now.
Why run Tyranids like this? Is it because it's the best way Nids function? Unfortunately, probably not. Dakkafexen/Dakka Flyrants / FMC in general are probably our best units in the codex. This is all well and good, but that's just not Tyranids to me. I mean, midrange shooting army? What are we? Necrons? No, we're Tyranids damnit! We consume our prey, and EVERYTHING is our prey! Sure, you can run our "Best" units and say "We just consume them after the battle" which is fine, but I don't want that to be MY swarm. Without extending this wall of text larger than it needs to be, I'll just say that I fell in love with Tyranids when I read about them in the 2nd Edition army book and read the backround fluff, and inparticular, Genestealers and Warriors. 4 Codeci later, and a lot has changed. I strive to play my bugs in what is satisfying for me, and can also compete in Tournament play. While I don't claim to of played every angle of CC Nids, I have played them A LOT. Here are some of the lessons I have learned. Feel free to mix in parts of these into your conventional list if you like, or full throttle it for a true challenge and rewarding victories.
This pretty much summarizes how I see 'Nids in a visual format; www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVbeoSPqRs4
Anyway, I'm going to start with a disclaimer; I don't use TLD or Flyers of any kind due to me being a stubborn old (please do not swear) stuck in the past personal preference on what I think Tyranids are. All of my experience / advice comes from that sort of playstyle, so keep that in mind.
Assault armies are a lot harder to pull off since 6th Edition, but are not something you will just lose with either, if you're a good player. Melee lists require a lot of finese, and are very unforgiving. I've dropped from top table to 5th in tournaments because I've made 1 bad decision with who a carnifex charges. CC lists require a lot of synergy / support to work as well. Generally you need a CC unit that can handle itself, as well as a "delivery system." Most commonly this is intervening models (hormagaunts are great for this. They are fast, cheap, can keep up with our fast CC units, and are OS. Obviously Gargoyles are great for this as well) combined with a model that grants shrouded.
1) Melyrants (Wings, AG,OA, LWBS) are 250 points, and is the cheapest I care to run them. I also don't like to go higher than this, as, jesus, that's 500 points on 2 models. If a Melyrant is going to be your warlord, I like to go with personal traits to try and get FNP. If you're going to put a Reaper on 1, put it on the one that isn't your warlord.
-Adrenal Glands are for Fleet. Fleet is for getting into assaults. Do not skimp on this or you will regret it. I'll include a nifty chart as to why under this.
-Old Adversary is there instead of Toxic Sacs. Most of your ideal targets you're wounding on a 2 anyway, and you get to reroll those (swearing) 1s you get when you *only* have 6 attacks on the charge.
-Lashwhip/Bonesword is for LOL I8 and potential ID on your 6 attack die. Don't forget you determine which your opponent takes first, which can be important when he's going to burn wounds on LoS rolls.
-YOU ARE A JUMP MONSTEROUS CREATURE, NOT A FLYING MONSTEROUS CREATURE. Abuse jink. You will be 2+ jinking a lot, because you will be shot at a lot. Ever play against a seerstar, or a shadowfield? Annoying, isn't it? Imagine it on a T6 frame. People will try to kill you with volume of fire. I usually declare at the beginning of the game "If you shoot at my Tyrant, assuming he's jinking. I want to jink every time you shoot at him, just know that in case I forget to declare it." This is also why I don't bother with ESG on him.
-You need a Venomthrope/Malanthrope. He's there for 2+ jink (duh). I like to have a unit of hormagaunts to wrap up the venomthrope, so he has a 3+ cover as well.
Melyrants are best suited against any infantry. This includes, but is not limited too, non-ID wielding, non-invuln saving Elites, HQs (Invulns are ok here, so long as they're not too crazy and it's a lone HQ), Ripetides, Dreadknights, any troops (great unit to smash into, then kill on opponents turn, then assault again), Dev squad equivalents, transports, fast attack (warp spiders, chaos spawn, marine bikers), and the occasional Leman Russ. Not bad against Wraightknights either, but also not ideal.
You'll want to deploy this thing as far up as possible, with a Malanthrope(ideally) as close as possible, but horms/gargs/whatevs between the Shroudthrope and the enemy if they have first turn. Your Melyrant moves up 12", your shroudthrope moves up 6", then has 6" shroud, so you're still in jink. In your shooting phase, utilize the world of premeasuring by running your shroudthrope first, then measure your shroud and run your Melyrant within your bubble. Be wary of what can counter charge you. Turn 2 charges are super easy to get with these things. Being charged isn't the worst thing in the world, just make sure it's something you're not too scared of. For example; Being charged by Wraithknight? Not that scary, even if your opponent thinks it is.
Being charged by a 50 strong IG blob squad with a priest? An IK? Hammernators? Respect their assault threat bubble. Remember; getting into the combat YOU want to be in is your goal. If you don't do that, it is your failure, not your opponents success. It is also more important to get into a good combat reliably and safely than it is to get into combat ASAP. This is true of Shrikes as well.
Bonus level; Get a Malanthrope in the initial combat with the Melyrant. Prey Adaptation is GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD.
Danger zone; Hitting a soft target to get an early charge can be a trap. A free 7 inch movement to kill a transport can be tempting. So can killing a group of Centurions. Just be aware of what you'll have to deal with the following turn. Will those Hammernators countercharge you? Will you be eating a full unit of missileside fire? Did your charge take you out of shrouded range? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're in the danger zone. Avoid the danger zone. 4+ jink / 3+ armor will not save you from volume of fire, even with FNP.
OH NOES! I'M IN THE DANGER ZONE! WUT DO?
Did you bring hormagaunts/gargs to wrap up your shroudthrope? You did? /phew! Use these to either A) Bounding leap your way between potentional countercharge units or B) Assault those Missilesides/Blobsquad/ whatever. Tie those dangerous units down for your opponents turn, and get your Melyrant back into combat, or, back into your shrouded bubble. Also use your Consolidation to try and get back into the shround bubble as well.
Don't forget you can always jump into swoop mode and fly off the table if you're about to die. Especially useful if it's your warlord.
We've had some light discussion on if the Reaper is worth taking on one of these things. Nameless provided some great points (and supporting math) in support of this. The cliff notes version is this; Reaper outperforms LW/BS in turns following the charge. FTGT-Evan brings up the very valid point that the Melyrant is S8 on the charge, and can thus ID down multi-wound T4 models without rolling the 6 to wound. My thoughts on the subject;
In regards to Reaper vs LWBS; as you stated, first round is identical vs T4. These are the ideal targets for a Melyrant. You should be winning combat, and usually SA the enemy down. If they pass LD, then the Reaper really begins to shine. The question is, how many more models are left to kill after the first round? Of these T4 models, how many need to be ID?
If the answer is "a significant amount" then your Melyrant may be in the Danger Zone, or a unit he's not meant to combat. I think adding the Reaper adds points that doesn't help the Melyrant in the role(s) I've found he's best at.
On the flip side of the coin, adding the Reaper could be viewed not as making him better at his role, but expanding the types of roles / targets he can engage.
I like the idea of him IDing down squads of multi wound T4 units with S8 on the charge, but I'm more scared of what those units will be swinging back at him if he doesn't kill them all. 3 surviving nobs with klaws make me want to NOPE to the other side of the table (or at least behind a gaunt screen).
Against things like missilesides I'd rather not kill them on the charge so I'm stuck in H2H during my opponents phase, then finish them off.
Other things that make Melyrants even better; Paroxysm (hah! Hit me on a 5+, (please do not swear)!), Catalyst (duh), and Psychic Scream (LOLS!). Not really worth mentioning since we have no control over these.
Either A) Crushing Claws + AG, or Stonecrushers. Always take 2. Whether 2 units of 1 or 1 unit of 2 is up to you and your available heavy slots. This is your anti-AV14 unit. The end. Can do well against other units in H2H as well (other MCs, multi-wound models, TEQ). Landraiders/Monolithes are your main target. I like the CC/AG fex better (You need fleet SO BAD, which Stonecrushers can't take) than the Stonecrusher....but they can be D-weaponed by IK before they strike. Stonecrushers have that S10, AP2, Armorbane HoW that two (sometimes one) can easily LOLSPLAT IK at the I10 step. Just make sure YOU'RE charging IT.
3) Shrikes. Oh god shrikes.
I've played around with these a lot. You're taking Flesh Hooks, Adrenal glands (FLEEEET), and Toxic sacs. Accept that. Don't try to skimp on points.
A delivery system (Shrouding, horms) are usually needed for these guys, at least if playing them very aggresively. 3+ cover save? Yes please. Someone else to eat rapid fire overwatch (or flamer overwatch)? Double yes please. The unit is just expensive and I feel scared if they don't have their support units. That being said.....I don't remember the last time they really got shot at. People are usually too busy shooting Melyrants, Malanthropes, or Carnifexen to pay any attention to these guys. I used to use them extremely aggressively, but since I've been using Melyrants I've toned down my number of squads (used to run 3, now I usually run just 1....sometimes 2) and used them as a midfield reactionary force. Can also plug emergency holes in Synapse, though that rarely happens as I typically run 2 Melyrants and 2 Malanthropes. There are two types of units I like to run;
A) 3x Lashwhip / Bonesword. LOL. These kill Wraithknights or deathstars. Last tournament they killed Ahriman(sp?) embedded in a unit of Chosen on the charge. That same day they killed a Seerstar on the charge with wounds left over. They also shine against Chaos Spawn, Nobs, or really anything with a 3+ save.
B) 5x Rending Claw / Scything Talons. Why take these? They can LOLStomp blobs, and these are our best anti-TEQ. They kill more terminators on the charge (non-storm shield terms) for 230 points than a Melyrant does for 250 (4.47 terms vs 2.89). I've also now done the math for the Dima vs. TEQ;
Kinda weird because of its random proc for +1 attack and +D3 attacks, but here's the numbers.
Worst case; 2.99 dead TEQ
Best case; 4.3
Very similar to the shrikes, who win out on highest number of kills. When comparing the Dima (average) to shrikes, the Dima is 1 ten thousandth more cost effective (wounds per point).
Pick your poison of 15 T4 wounds at 12" move with 5+ save VS the Dimas MC frame.
Not so much a unit in the army for H2H capability, but for what they bring to the table for other units. Sure, you can put AG/TS on them. I don't like it. Most other units are already doing what you would want these to do with expensive upgrades. For their purposes as we'll be using them, more base models > upgraded models.
Roles they fill;
A) Intervening models to grant 3+ cover
B) Block counter charges from things like Imperial Knights / whatever else you would rather charge instead (or avoid being charged altogether)
D) Eat overwatch
E) ObSec. Usually by the time they march up the field, screen your real Hammers, eat overwatch, then get into assault, they'll be significantly suffering. Luckily, after they eat overwatch and your shrikes/Fexen/Melyrant/Whatever are in the same combat with them, the target will die. If it goes into another round of combat, these guys usually aren't the targets of attacks. At this stage of the game their job as a safe delivery system has been completed, and they can grab your opponents backfield objectives / linebreaker, or even bounding leap back to other objectives.
These roles can also be performed by gargoyles, which aren't ObSec (sans Skyblight), are 20% more expensive, but a better tarpit due to blind. Luckily with this sort of list, the only thing you really want to tarpit is other tarpits, units with ID, and IKs.
5) Genestealers (Honorable Mention)
Uh, you could run them like the shrikes. Give them a delivery system and send them down field.
My experience from my Shrike Heavy lists, which I was running soon after our 6th Ed codex dropped. I used the Manufactorum Genestealers to get right in my opponents face (well, 6" from their face). This creates 5 units that HAVE TO BE SHOT AT, effectively buying your army a free turn of moving up the board to prep for Turn 2 assaults. Even shooty armies will have problems finding 5 units to blow up all your Genes, then have shots left over to shoot downfield at your REAL threats. Then, when you do get shot at, you G2G for 3+ cover! Turn 2 when your synapse moves up, they pop up immediately and are free to assault. Sweet! If they just don't shoot your genes...well then you get to assault with 25 genestealers turn 2. As much hate as Genes get, 75 WS6 S4 rending attacks are a real blender. It's also great when your opponent assaults them. Even if they have assault grenades, you're still attacking first. I killed a charging Wraithknight at Top Table this way once. It was just below "Third Base" on the "How awesome do I feel?" chart.
This is really the core of CC nids...or at least as far as my experience goes. You need shrouding, ideally from Malanthropes. You need a fast bubble wrap (horms or gargoyles). Other support is optional based on your flavor. I like a unit of 2 biovores and a unit of 3 Hive Guard for support. I tend to straight up ignore flyers, unless they go into hover mode. Positioning your army so they don't get more than a turn or 2 of shooting against you isn't that hard, provided they don't have vector dancer. If a skyfire nexus pops up my hive guard book it for that thing. Worst case scenario flyer shoot at you a lot and you rely on your cover saves anyway.
Remember to pick your fights. You don't HAVE to fight everything. Things like Hammernators are better off tarpitted and forgotten about than taken head on.
Hope this helps. If anyone has other experiences (especially if it's games played, not just theorycrafting) I'd love to hear it. Theorycrafting is welcome too, of course. I'm particularly curious about the Dimachareon(sp?) and Haruspex (Theorycraft says booooooo, but I don't know anyone with actual experience either), and using genestealers to effect (I've had some success with Manufactorum Genestealers myself, but not nearly as much as what's above).
Oh, and here's why you take fleet on anything CC based;
Charge Range Base Charge %
Difference How much better?
4" 91.7 99.3
5" 83.3 97.2 13.9 117%
6" 72.2 92.3 20.1 128%
82.6 24.3 142%
8" 41.7 66 24.3 158%
9" 27.8 47.5 19.7 171%
10" 16.7 30.6 13.9 183%
11" 8.3 16 7.7 193%
12" 2.8 5.5 2.7 196%
I didn't include 2" charges (autowin unless you don't have MTC) or 3" charges because the numbers don't start mattering until 4" charges. If you don't have fleet built in, and you have the option to buy AG, buy AG. It never costs more than 15 points/model, and it's worth 15 points. I guess you get furious charge too or whatever, but who cares.
Read more: http://thetyranidhive.proboards.com/thread/47686/tyranids-competitive-close-combat-seriously#ixzz3Inn65Kvd