Tuesday 14 January 2014

Misfiring Synapses

I was prepared to be butt hurt on receiving my new Nid codex. The pre-release leaks caused a furore on the forums.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth but I secretly thought that it couldn't be that bad could it?  Could it?

Ok, I built another Exocrine.  Or did I?

The thrust of the new army seems to be, "hang in there".  With a plethora of cheaper MCs in every FOC slot and cut price gribblies, it does make Nids more of an attrition army and relatively harder to budge.  But there's no stand out model or rule which impresses me and no 'Surprise! You're dead!' units.  Drop pods are gone and Trygon tunnels are still useless so you'll be doing a lot more footslogging.  Games will consist of your opponent kicking the shit out of you for 5-7 turns with superior, long ranged firepower.  If he can't remove all your troops/synapse by this time then you could steal a win on objectives.  Makes for a tense game which is probably more fun for your opponent.

On the positive side, I was pleased with the points reduction across the board and now think Tyrannofexes are viable, Biovores are even better and Mawlocs are pretty cool (Heavy Support will become a bit crowded).  I like the new Exocrine, Harpy and the Crone (not so much the Haruspex).  Nids now have more and better flyers as well as access to a lot of Haywire weaponry.

Tyrants and Carnifexes are much cheaper but I don't own Carnifexes.  The Tyrant, as with all psykers in the book, has been nerfed by not having access to the BRB psychic powers.  I don't actually have a problem with limiting what Nids can take.  Rolling for and keeping track of 14+ powers in a game was just annoying for me and not fun at all.  But the Tyranid psychic powers are not as good as Biomancy+Telekinesis+Telepathy (although, you'll consistently roll one which is fairly useful or just take the Dominion primaris)

The Haruspex is interchangeable with the Exocrine
and easily magnetised
Which is a good job because the Haruspex is 'Meh', ruleswise

Frankly the problems with Warriors, Raveners, Lictors, Genestealers, Pyrovores and Rippers were not fixed, or even addressed really. (They went as far as removing Ymgarls from the game. WTF?!). Ok, Pyrovores got a bit better.  They needed to get a lot better.  I'd say that I just won't use any of the above but that leads me to another problem:  Instinctive Behaviour.  The rules have changed drastically.  Being out of synapse in the old book could make things difficult but still manageable and in some cases it was actually beneficial.  Under the new rules, being out of synapse is potentially disastrous.  Creatures with 'Hunt' may be forced to go to ground, 'Lurk' units might run off the board and 'Feed' units can end up eating each other.  Its not quite as bad for lone models (e.g. the Mawloc is Ld8, can't eat itself and can still move freely in the movement phase to mitigate the downside of having to attack the closest unit).  However, large units of troops are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of Instinctive Behaviour.

So its pretty important to keep the gribblies in synapse range at all times or 'interesting' things will happen. Fair enough, this is what narrative gaming is all about.  But how do I do this? Tervigons (and Hive Guard to a lesser extent) were nerfed.  Whilst not unexpected, Tervigons were so badly mauled that you do not want any termagants (our main troop choice) anywhere within 12" of them.  Which is odd because they are a termagant spawning unit.  So Tervigon spam is out.  Which leaves Tyrants, Primes, Warriors, Zoanthropes, Shrikes and the Trygon Prime.  Tyrants are an ok option with guard but this is pricey. Flyrants are too mobile and fragile to provide reliable synapse.  Trygons are shock troops and won't be babysitting deckchair units on backfield objectives.  Zoanthropes are ok but fragile, you'll tend to want to use them moving forward offensively and the elite slots are still at a premium.  Primes received a 56% point increase for no real reason as far as I can see.

Which leaves Warriors.  The warrior statline didn't change at all; they are still very vulnerable to ST8 weaponry and will die in droves to Ion Accelerators (but hey, so does everything else!).  However, we don't have access to any other cheap, spammable synapse/scoring units.  So I might be forced to take them.  Which makes me sad.  I dunno, I haven't actually played any games yet so I cannot say that the new codex is terrible. I don't think its overpowered so far.

I want my Tentaclids where I can see 'em, dammit!


  1. Hmm, this 'dex sounds a bit meh. I havn't heard anyone enthuse about it, which is a shame really as the last book was such a dogs breakfast. I maintain an affection for the 'nid's, they were my first army and I continue to collect and paint. Still every cloud has a silver lining, the Shoe Clinic can have my money instead!

    1. I hear ya. I don't think its unplayable but the only thing it has inspired me to do is think about building a 'HiveStorm' Redoubt. i.e. a niddy version of a Firestorm Redoubt. This is an Imperial fortification which doesn't use Tyranid rules (but it does massively buff your synapse range, provides decent anti-air and excellent cover). A sad day when you have to look at supplements to shore up your weaknesses.