Tourney report, Tyranid update

Saturday was our FLGS monthly tournament. 1750 points, straight up. No funny business or special rules/scenarios.
I brought a pretty tame list:

Jump Librarian, Epistolary, Null Zone, Smite
3 Tac Squads in Rhinos
5 Terminators with 2 chainfists, no heavy weapon
Ironclad Dread with Ironclad launchers and 2 HKs
Squadron of 3 multimelta attack bikes
10 Assault Marines, 2 plasma pistols, sergeant with dual plasma pistols
Thunderfire Cannon
Autocannon-only Predator

I wanted to try out a psyker in 6th, as I'd not run one yet. I got out my rusty, trusty Jump Librarian and upgraded him to Epistolary for better Deny rolls. With the arrival of new Deathwing, I took Null Zone for the forced rerolls on invulnerables, and Smite for the AP2. If I ran into anything without mass invulnerable saves or 2+ armor, I'd planned to take a Telepathy power and then either a Telekinesis or Pyromancy power.

First game was Special Ops, against a CSM/Daemons force, run by Khorne Inquisitor over on my blogroll. The only objective I can remember taking was capturing table quarters. It was a hell of a fight, that was bent significantly in my favor when his 300+ points of Tzeentchian Terminators and Sorceror Lord scattered off the table and were destroyed by mishap. We ended up splitting all of the points straight down the middle, 16-16.
Things learned: be careful with model placement in combat squads. A couple times over the day I lost the only important member of the squad (heavy weapon, typically) by placing him in the wrong spot. I lost my only plasma cannon on turn one in this game due to a failed Morale check from shooting casualties. I was only about 6" from the board edge in an attempt to hug cover. Oops!
Obliterators are scary, but simple enough to counter in certain situations as they're forced to pick a new weapon every turn.

Second game was Search and Destroy against Deathwing. A chance to test the mettle of the new codex!
I placed one objective deep in my own deployment zone behind a LOS-blocking pillar, and the other just shy of board center. My opponent's placement was similar. I had one Tac Squad remain whole and sit on the deep objective, while combat squadding everything else except the Assault Marines.
We ran into a question during deployment as a result of the new DA dex: Do units using Deathwing Assault count as being in reserves? If so, do they count towards your 50% unit cap? Also, do all of the units using the DWA arrive on the same turn, or do you declare per unit?
We decided to play it as the DWA units not counting towards your cap, but they all had to arriveon the same turn. My opponent had them all arrive on Turn One, and dropped them all around my deployment zone, along with a pod full of Tac Marines. Deathwing are pretty impressive on the drop, as they get twin-linked shooting for that first turn. I lost my Thunderfire right off the bat by failing one 2+ armor save on two dice.
I decided to have my full Tac Squad fight a 'lost hope' action, attempting to hold off the enemy Tac Squad and Belial with 8 Terminators. They lasted quite a few turns, due to some impressive saving throws and doling out some equally impressive shooting damage to the enemy Tac Squad. The rest of my army pushed forward, leaving Belial and his big mass of TDA in the dust. I crashed headlong into the other Deathwing units with Null Zone up, decimating them with plasma weaponry and Ironclad beatings.
The game would have been closer on objectives, but my opponent forgot to get his rearguard Tac Squad out of their Rhino to score the objective they were sitting on. Did I spot that on his turn and not say anything about it? I have to honestly say "yes." I feel a little bad about not reminding him. In the end, I took primary and tertiary, and lost secondary.

Third game was against another CSM/Daemons combo, but built very differently. I read over the list, saw two flyers (Blight Drone, Helldrake) and a flying monster (Fateweaver) and despaired. How was I supposed to beat those?! The mission was Safeguard, and I put both of my objectives in my back right area of the board. I deployed heavily around that area, with my ASM as a flanking unit on my left. The only unit deployed by the opposing army was a large unit of Cultists spread across a ruin and a Skyshield. Unfortunately, there was a tower blocking LOS to many of the cultists. I opened up on them, killing quite a few, but we forgot to roll their Morale test (on a 10, with attached Sorceror). We remembered later in the game, but the proxy roll determined it wouldn't have mattered, as they passed with a 3). I did manage to kill the Helldrake on the last turn with a hail mary multimelta shot. I knocked Fateweaver out of the sky twice, but only put a single wound on him during the whole game. He's just too tough to keep down with T5, flying, and a rerollable 3++ save. The only counter I gad to him was my Librarian's Null Zone, but he was simply too far away for it to help.
Again, we split the points down the middle, 16-16, but I managed to grab 6 bonus points for partially destroyed units that were still alive. Two of those points came from single bolter Marines surviving from combat squads. Talk about a razor's edge!

At the end of the day, I ended in 5th place in a field of 14. Not too shabby. I also won the "door prize" random draw, for a little store credit.

I browsed through the Tyranid models with my credit slip in-hand. I looked at Genestealers, Warriors, Raveners, a Venomthrope, a Broodlord, and the Hive Tyrant and Carnifex. My credit wasn't enough to buy anything outright, and I didn't feel like spending any extra money quite yet, so I held onto it.
Also, I'm not sure where I want to start with Tyranids. I'd like to start with an HQ model, but am not sure which one. The Hive Tyrant is impressive, and would be a great first model from a painting competition entry perspective. The Monster category isn't typically well represented in most of the local events.
Problem is, I'm not a huge fan of the Tyrant in game terms for the vision I have for my eventual army. I'm going with as many melee-only units as I can. The Tyrant is only a real melee threat if it's got wings. I'm not sure I want to jump right into painting wings.
I'm leaning more toward a Prime for gaming purposes. It can be kitted for melee only, and can actually perform pretty well. But, I'm not sure the 40mm model type will be the best place to start experimenting with painting techniques.
I'm not interested in Tervigons at all. I hate them, and refuse to use them. Mostly because every other Tyranid player runs multiples, and I just don't want to be in that boat.

I have the Carnifex back plates I need to practice techniques, so on Sunday I picked up a bottle of white craft paint to use in making my airbrush-applied primer. I also went for a walk on the beach with the wife and our son. I picked up a few broken crab shells and looked at the anatomy and patterning on the shells. I took one piece of lobster shell home with me in order to have a good sample of the way color is distributed across the shell.

I've also been thinking about the possibility of mixing and matching pieces from different Nid kits in order to get more unique-looking monsters. But, without having bits in hand, I'm not sure how my plan would work. So, to you Nid players: do the heads from the Tervigon/Tyrannofex kit or the Trygon/Mawlock kit fit into a Carnifex neck area? Do the crushing claws from the Tervigon/Tyrannofex fit into a Carnifex arm socket?
I'm hoping the monster-size heads are all interchangeable, so I can create some funky-looking Carnifex models as well as other monsters.


  1. You can make a Hive Tyrant with Armoured Shell gaining a 2+ save. Lash whips and Bonesword make it pretty nasty. I know you despair about the Tervigon but the 6 wound MC is essential to survive, Nids have limited choices for successful armies

    1. That's a good point. 2+ save Tyrant with a Tyrant Guard or two might not be bad.
      I like the looks of the Tyrannofex as well, with minimal upgrades. Rupture Cannon is junk, but the basic loadout can dish a lot of hits on infantry and S6 Smash can do some damage to tanks and such. Maybe just throw regeneration on it and call it good.