Blood of Baal – The Goonhammer Review – Part 2 – Tyranids

Tyranids have been in a rough spot for a while, and we’re extremely excited to see them near the front of the queue for some Psychic Awakening goodies. The army has the dubious honour of being one of the first to get an entirely new rule added (the “Rule of 3”) aimed at taking out one of their best lists right back in the first big FAQ. Unfortunately, what seemed reasonable and proportionate at the time quickly turned out to leave them a bit behind the power curve of the codexes that started dropping in mid-2018, and pretty much since Imperial Knights were released it’s been tough to be a bug. As we covered in our Start Competing article on the faction, they’re stuck in a kind of weird limbo where they have many units that are decent, but not good enough for competitive play. The end result is a Codex that just doesn’t quite get there, but has elements that are worth using in a Genestealer Cults/Forces of the Hive Mind list.

With the advent of Blood of Baal, Tyranids get access to a host of new abilities, rules, and stratagems that change the game completely, giving them multiple exciting new options and angles of attack. But are these rules enough to get Tyranids out of the valley and into a space where they can compete? Join us as we dive into the new rules in the upcoming book to find out. And if you missed part 1 covering the Blood Angels, you can find that here.

Also it’s worth noting that these new rules dropped at the same time as the Chapter Approved 2019 points update, which makes a number of units cheaper. Tyranids made out pretty well in that, and if you want to read our overview of the changes and how they affect Tyranids, you can find that in our review of the Chapter Approved 2019 points here.

Gunum is here too! I’m incredibly excited to see these changes applied to one of my favorite armies, especially with how underpowered pure Tyranids have felt of late. I have over 20,000 points of these gribbins and I really can’t express how badly I want to put them back on the table. These new options GW came up with are very flavorful and I think something every aspiring Hive Tyrant will be able to get behind. There’s going to be some tricks, there’s gonna be some just Brutal abilities, and I can’t wait to dig in. Let’s go! 


Special Rules

The new special rules in Blood of Baal only apply to Tyranid armies, and can’t be used by Genestealer Cults. The preface to the Tyranid section defines what a “Tyranid unit” is – any unit that has both the TYRANIDS and <HIVE FLEET> keywords. The new content includes new bio-artifacts, stratagems, Adaptive Physiology (see below), custom Hive Fleet Adaptations, and new psychic powers specific to each hive fleet.

Adaptive Physiology

A new set of rules for Tyranids, the Adaptive Physiology rules give Tyranid armies a new way to boost a unit. If your army has a Tyranids character as its warlord, you can give one Tyranids infantry unit or Monster model in your army an Adaptive Physiology instead of giving a Warlord trait to your Warlord.

I was really on the fence about this one. The nice thing about having a warlord trait is that the buff provided by it is protected by the character rule. Giving up your Warlord trait to turn one of your units into a target didn’t seem very great to me. Then as I thought about it, the Tyranid Warlord traits are all pretty sub-optimal, so going the way of an Adaptive Physiology bonus could be pretty awesome!

Additionally, if your army has a Tyranids CHARACTER, you get access to the Progeny of the Hive Stratagem, which for 1 CP lets you pick a Tyranids Infantry unit or Monster model from your army to give an Adaptive Physiology. You can’t double up, and you can only use the stratagem once per battle. This means that Tyranid armies can have up to two units with Adaptive Physiology if they forego a Warlord Trait.

Wings Note: I love this – it’s incredibly flavourful and a really interesting use of design space. I also like that the price of entry is low (just a CP). We’ll dive into the actual options later on, but I am hyped for this and want to see more ideas like it!


Credit: BuffaloChicken

Psychic Powers

There are seven new psychic powers for Tyranids in Blood of Baal, and each one is tied to a specific Hive Fleet. Knowing one of these replaces a power in the Hive Mind discipline from Codex: Tyranids.

Note: In this section all “in-line” takes are from Gunum!

  • Behemoth: Unstoppable Hunger – WC7: Pick a friendly Behemoth unit within 9”. Until the end of the turn, add 1 to the wound rolls for that unit’s melee attacks. This really plays into what Behemoth wants to do, charge and get in there. Mass of Gaunts with this and their Mortal Wound strat may add into some damage. Not to mention the benefits that can be applied to things like Genestealers (as it makes it easier to get a “rend”). B+
    Wings Note:
    Blimey, we’re coming in hot huh? This is extremely powerful (I’d probably have it at A-) pretty much across the board and immediately pushes Behemoth up in your consideration. I’d also point out that it’s pretty great for Flyrants, as they can drop out of deep-strike, self cast this and go for a re-rollable charge.
  • Kraken: Synaptic Lure – WC5: Pick an enemy unit. Until the end of the turn, re-roll charge rolls made by friendly Kraken units that target that unit. The Kraken units can move so quickly, this may feel a bit redundant. I think it’s a great thing for their psychic spells though! I gave it a higher ranking due to it feeling like a stratagem that was actually a spell. Sign me up.  B+
    Wings Note: I was going to say I’d be worried about psykers keeping up with the front lines to apply this, but this literally doesn’t have a range limitation. So, uh, I guess you don’t need to worry about that!
  • Leviathan: Hive Nexus – WC6: Until the start of your next psychic phase, the synapse range of friendly Leviathan units is 18” instead of 12”. This is a bit underwhelming. I really wished it would boost their FNP racial aura, but it just increases the fearless bubble. The interesting thing here, is that you can cast it off any psyker to buff -all- the bugs on the table. Very unique buff spell. C
    Wings Note: I like the design space but I can’t really see myself ever picking it, so I’d have it down at D.
  • Gorgon: Poisonous Influence – WC6: Until the start of your next psychic phase, improve the AP on melee weapons for friendly models within 9” of this unit by one. I think this is a strong spell that is only restricted by range. Being able to use this along with some other combos in our book could really add up to some viabilityB
    Wings Note: Oof, “models” hurts on this one. It’s fine if you want to be Gorgon, but doesn’t really convince me you ever do.
  • Jormungandr: Lurking Maws – WC6: Pick a visible enemy unit. Until end of turn, re-roll hit rolls against that unit from friendly Jormungandr units set up on the battlefield this turn. You cannot cast this in the first battle round. B
    Wings Note: This is a weird one – it’s very powerful but requires a lot of building around to make it good. Newly discounted Tyrannocytes and the Jormungandr stratagem make this a bit easier to do, but my worry here would be that you end up pouring sufficient resources into it that you might as well have just taken a less dramatic but more consistent boost from another fleet. Still, the power level is here, and I could certainly see a Jormunganr deep strike component of a mixed hive fleet list making good use of this.
  • Hydra: Death Shriek – WC5: Until your next Psychic phase, when a friendly hydra model that is within 6” of both this psyker and an enemy unit is destroyed, roll a D6. On a 6, the closest enemy unit takes 1 mortal wound. This is bad. Only dealing a single mortal wound on 6 isn’t great by itself, but only on models within 6″? The volume just isn’t there for this to be any good.  F.
  • Kronos: Symbiostorm – W6: Pick a friendly unit 12”. Until the end of the turn, when that unit rolls a 6+ to hit with a ranged weapon, you get an additional hit. This spell is perfect for what Kronos wants to do. Shoot things. This is good for literally every gun beast or Hive Guard unit you can dream of. The amount of shots that a hive guard unit could get from this is going to really buff their double shooting math. Great spell, great WC price, just solid. The only downside is the 12” range. Since this is a 6+ to hit, a unit you really wanna use this with is the unmoving Exocrine with it’s +1 to hit. Triggering this on 5+s is just killer. A
    Wings Note: 
    And we close with a winner too – this is completely wild on an Exocrine or double shooting Hive Guard, and should help keep Kronos as one of the very best fleets.


Tyranid Kill Team
A Tyranid Kill Team, these guys will (mostly) want to rip your face off – Credit: Sharkopath

Stratagems and Bio-Artefacts


Tyranids get five new relic-like bio-artifacts to augment their characters.

Resonance Barb – Psyker only

This model can manifest an additional power per turn and deny an extra power. Also, when you take a psychic test, add 1 to the total. This is straight fire. Windmill slam this thing onto your Hive Tyrants for triple easy-casting action. S+ Ultra GOLD
Chase: Take this forever. Every time. I don’t say this lightly, but it -slaps-. Neurothropes are just gonna be in love.
Wings: Oh my god I take my eyes off them for one second they’ve invented a new and higher grade. My life is never easy. That being said, an A+ would be correct for this – it immediately becomes Tyranid’s best relic and there’s almost no reason you would ever run a detachment that could take it and chose not to. Don’t forget to combo it with Power of the Hive Mind and Synaptic Channeling to let you have a quad-casting Hive Tyrant that knows every spell. weeps in elf

Xenogenic Acid – Replaces a model’s toxin sacs

When you make a melee attack, unmodified wound rolls of 5+ inflict an extra mortal wound on top of other damage. A solid ability, and better the more attacks you get. C
Chase: Taking Toxin Sacs alone isn’t super great, so having an artifact version really only helps Gorgan or Leviathan Hive Tyrants kill more. Still isn’t terrible.
Wings: I can’t really find a unit that has the right mixture of “lots of attacks” and “isn’t already murdering whatever it touches”. D from me.

The Venomthorn Parasite

Goes on a model with a stranglethorn cannon or heavy venom cannon. When you shoot the cannon, it always does its maximum number of shots. C+
Chase: Again, another item that might not be the best thing to have around as it is a weapon option that isn’t super efficient to take. This could be nice on a Walk-rent in Jorgamunder or even a Tyranid Prime to help with some light AT shooting.
Wings: I’d actually have this as a B+ – I think it’s just fine on a basic Kronos walkrant with either gun, turning them into a reliable shooting platform. It’s a nice combo with a stranglethorn cannon and the Kronos spell too, allowing them to menace larger units.


Add 8” to the range of the model’s ranged weapons and when it fires Overwatch or is chosen to shoot with, you can re-roll a single hit roll and a single wound roll. B+
Chase: I feel like this was made for Flyrants with double Brain-leech worm machine guns. Moving their range from 18” to 26” is huge and can allow you to skirt the enemies edges without fear of getting too close to things like Smash Captains.
Wings: Agree. It’s another one that’s just straight up fine on a gunned up walkrant too.

Arachnacyte Gland

Replaces adrenal glands. When you make a charge roll for this model, roll an extra D6 and discard the lowest die. Also, you get +1 to your Advance rolls. B+
Chase: Another item that is just awesome, but at the same time is a tough pick. In a weird way, this is a required item for Trygon Primes. Giving them an extra dice to try and charge in will make those murder machines actually get into combat before getting slaughtered by your opponents’ heavy guns.
Wings: This starts to make hitting melee out of Deep Strike look real reliable for Behemoth, which is nice


Credit: BuffaloChicken


Tyranids get a bunch of new Stratagems in Blood of Baal. Most of them affect a single unit type and offer a strong bonus.

  • Progeny of the Hive – 1 CP: Use before the battle to give a Tyranids Infantry unit or one Monster in your army an Adaptive Physiology. You can’t pick a unit that already has an adaptive physiology and you can only use this once per battle. A As you’ll see, having one more of these out there is just… Just great. 
  • Grasping Tendrils – 1 CP: Use in the opponent’s movement phase, when an enemy unit without a minimum move characteristic is within 1” of a TOXICRENE unit and attempts to fall back. Roll a D6 and add1 if the unit is an Infantry unit. On a 3+, it can’t fall back this turn. A About time those wiggly arms did -something. I’m super psyched by this and gave it such a high rating because of how important it is for the Toxicrene to stay in combat to stop from being annihilated by bullets. At 1 cp, and stopping a unit of infantry from falling back on a 2+? We might have to censor some 40k tentacles.
  • Symbiotic Devastation – 1 CP: Use at the start of the Shooting phase. Pick an EXOCRINE. Until the end of the phase, it’s counted as not having moved. A These bad bois shoot twice when they don’t move, get +1 to hit when they don’t move, and if they are Kronos they will be re-rolling ones. What’s not to like. This is perfect for this unit.
    Wings Note: Exocrines are near certain to make a comeback after this book, and this is part of why. Their relatively short range was their only real problem, so now being able to move/shoot one without any problems is phenomenal.
  • Surprise Ambush – 1 CP: Use in the Charge phase. Pick a LICTOR that’s entirely on/within a terrain feature or set up this turn using Hidden Hunter. Until the end of the turn, it can’t be Overwatched and add +1 to its Charge rolls. B This will give us a reason to take these guys after the absolute ball drop of Pheromone Trail. Anything that avoids overwatch is straight money, and is going to be a huge boon for our more aggressive charging lists. 
  • Feral Instincts – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase. Pick a HORMAGAUNTS unit and for the rest of the phase its melee weapons get +1 AP. C+ There are some really stacking abilities out there that can get Hormagaunts to be a threat. But when it comes down to it, they are still just S3. The one thing that helps here, is that it encourages taking our 30 man blocks and making every one of those attacks count.
    Wings Note: Potentially nice in Behemoth if you’re going all-in on the psychic power to make Hormugaunts gooa.
  • Haruspex – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase when a HARUSPEX unit is picked to fight. For the rest of the phase, it can re-roll hit rolls. A++ (B) I’m jacked about this addition. These are one of the coolest models we have in our line and their low WS of only a 4+ has been what has made these unplayable. Re-roll all hits though? Things are gonna get real bitey, really fast. 
  • Unexpected Incursion – 1 CP: Use in the Movement phase, when a MAWLOC model is set up using the Terror from the Deep ability. When determining the Mortal Wounds from the Terror of the Deep ability, add 2 to the rolls. B This is a great strat for a not-so-great unit. I love Mawlocks but the coming of the rule of three really hurt them. Now, the powerful thing here is that a roll of a 6 gives 3 mortal wounds to every unit within 2” of the monster. So using three of these in waves can really do some -powerful- damage. Place one, use the strat, a 4+ = 3 mortals? Then when it dies or it gets tied up, just do it again with the next one, then the next one!  It’s a bring your own explosion strat and I know I’ll be using the crap outta this.
    Wings Note: I remember the dark times of Mawloc/Flyrant meta so I’m pretty interested in anything that brings these up a level. I’d probably have this as a B+, I think it has a good chance of getting them back into lists.
  • Buried Threats – 1 CP: Use in the Movement phase, when a RIPPERs unit is set up with the Burrowers ability. For as long as it remains stationary, units shooting ranged weapons against it get -1 to hit. D Keeping last-minute Rippers alive, kinda, is good and all and as we all know, Rippers gotta RIP! But this strat doesn’t rip. It’s fine. 
  • Savage Distraction – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase, when an enemy unit is killed by a model in a <HIVE FLEET> unit from your army. In your opponent’s next Shooting phase, when an enemy unit within 6” of that <HIVE FLEET> unit fires a ranged weapon, they get -1 to hit. B+ This can be really good with our large model count units. Looking at you, Genestealers! Mind you people can just… walk away from your now spooky unit to completely invalidate this strat. Forcing heavy units or even basic infantry to end up in less than optimal shooting spots could be pretty good for us.
    Wings Note: I think this needed to be 12″ to be worth it. C+ from me.
  • Hive Instinct – 1 CP: Use in the Charge phase and pick an enemy unit within 1” of a <HIVE FLEET> Synapse unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, when a charge roll is made by a friendly <HIVE FLEET> unit that targets that enemy unit, roll an extra D6 for the charge roll and drop the lowest result. The first model you move as part of the charge has to end up within 1” of that specific enemy unit otherwise the charge fails and no units move. So you can’t just use this as part of a multi-charge to get to another unit – you have to at least reach the affected enemy unit. C+ This is a pretty cool strat. Essentially a start that encourages a “Save the Boss!” attitude. Though, this can be used pretty offensively when you charge with a Broodlord or a Hive Tyrant and needs to get his buddies to join in on the fun. 
  • Unyielding Chitin – 1 CP: Use in the Charge phase or your opponent’s Shooting phase when someone shoots at a TYRANID PRIME or TYRANID WARRIORS unit from your army. For the rest of the phase, reduce the damage characteristic of incoming ranged attacks by 1, to a minimum of 1. B- I think this is a REQUIRED strat if you’re like me and want Warriors to be playable. The biggest issue with Warriors has always been multiple damage weapons and this will go a long way. I rated it a bit lower due to the timings this can be used. Only when you can be shot at, whether it’s overwatch or base shooting phase is GOOD and all. But what about combat? How can we save our Warriors from thunder hammers? A little bit of a miss. 
  • Encephalic Diffusion – 2 CP: Use at the start of the turn and pick a MALECEPTOR model in your army. For the rest of the turn when someone makes a ranged weapon against a friendly unit within 6” of that Maleceptor, subtract 1 from the weapon’s Strength characteristic, to a minimum of 1. B- This is one of my favorite models in our arsenal and making it more survivable is just amazing. Now the downside is the 2 CP of course, but honestly making it so S8 guns wound him on 4’s is pretty fire.
    Wings Note: Hrmm. -1S has a very variable impact but in matchups where this pays off it pays off hard. Probably a B.
  • Aggressive Adaptation – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase, when an attack from a <HIVE FLEET> model in your army destroys an enemy unit. Until the end of the battle, improve the AP of that model’s unit’s melee weapons by 1. You can only use this on a unit once. C+ Now we’re talking about some more investments. An interesting narrative I’ve been seeing in this book is upgrading units. Being able to apply this to that unit of Hormagaunts we’ve buffed earlier, and mixing this strat with the other -1 AP strat means we could have -2AP Hookie-gaunts running all over the place. This is also really big for things like Genestealers and Warriors, but the issue always comes down to will they be alive long enough to get any benefit from it. 
  • Synaptic Channelling – 1 CP: Use in your Psychic phase. Pick a <HIVE FLEET> Psyker unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, it knows all the powers known by friendly <HIVE FLEET> Psyker units that are on the battlefield. A This is really strong as it allows a type of sideboard for our pyker units. Not only could you pull a Warp Scream out of nowhere, but it allows your Zoanthrope units to be a great utility for our swarms. Being able to change up our Hive Tyrants and even Broodlords will help us in very clutch moments. 
  • Skyswarm Fusillade – 1 CP: Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase. Pick a GARGOYLES unit in your army. For the rest of the phase fleshborers in that unit become type Pistol 1. D Though I like the idea of Gargoyles being alive long enough to make good use of this, the issue is there will be so much less of them after the first round of combat. If you were able to lock in a unit, this can be useful but its so situational I don’t see it being used often if even rarely. 
  • Psychic Fissure – 2 CP: Use at the start of your opponent’s Psychic phase. For the rest of the phase, if an enemy psyker takes a psychic test within 12” of a <HIVE FLEET> Synapse unit from your army and fails the test, they take D3 mortal wounds. S (A) This is my favorite thing on this list right now. Do you want to cast a spell? Well too bad. I’m going to stack this with my Kronos Strat and mixed with the -1 from Shadows, you don’t and for your trouble take D3 mortal wounds. The issue with this is it’s short-range of course, and 2 cp isn’t a minor investment. This can be really punishing for certain armies and I think is a great take. Imagine this in the middle of a Grey Knights (lol) smite spam situation. Oof.
    Wings Note: Being tied to Synapse only means I’d probably put this at more like a B+, but it’s certainly good.
  • Hunter’s Drive – 1 CP: Use in your Charge Phase and pick a <HIVE FLEET> unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, when that unit declares a charge that targets a unit that lost any models to ranged attacks made by <HIVE FLEET> SYNAPSE models this turn, roll an extra D6 and discard the lowest die when making the charge roll. The first model you move when charging has to end up within 1” of that unit or else the charge fails and no models in the charging unit move. A You might have seen a theme here with having, a lot of extra dice for charges instead of rerolls which I find super interesting. Another great ability to stack around using multiple threats to make sure you do the wound to get this re-roll unlocked. 

Adaptive Physiologies

Now the true test. This is an interesting idea that has been put forward by GW to adjust to the sub-par Warlord traits in our book. Is it worth giving up …uh… 8” bigger synapse ranges for one of the following abilities? This idea really begets building units to their maximum amount of models. Is it worth it?  Let’s find out together here. 

Wings Note: The really important thing here is that nothing about the wording stops you using these on models that would already have been eligible for a warlord trait, so you can think about these as effectively being extra warlord trait options for relevant models. In fact, currently (I expect this to get FAQed with maximum prejudice) there’s nothing stopping you dropping these on Named Characters! I’m not going to dwell on the impact of that especially because I’m pretty sure it’s going away, but enjoy two weeks of fun with turbo-powered Old One Eye and Swarmlords I guess.

Credit: BuffaloChicken


  • Enhanced Resistance: When resolving an attack made against the unit with AP -1 or -2, that weapon has AP 0 for the attack. This is going to be most useful on things with a 4+ or better armor save that really stood to lose from AP-1 and AP-2 weapons. B+ This is a great ability for early game. Having a unit of Warriors that ignore -1 or -2? It’s a great way to make sure you’re getting access to the saves you may need to have some of your more expensive units see turn 2.
    Wings Note: Also extremely good on Hive Guard, and I expect to see this or Dynamic Camouflage on them as the most common picks.
  • Adrenal Webs: When this unit consolidates, it can move up to 2D6”. A This is a thing that genes or even bricks of warriors can be made for. Being able to reach out and touch everything you can is a great addition to any of our aggressive units. 
  • Abhorrent Pheromones: –2 Ld to enemy units within 1”. D Leadership shenanigans just won’t get there right now. -2 could be good, but when compared to the rest of the options here I just don’t see it. 
  • Dynamic Camouflage: When this unit is in cover, it gets +2 to its saving throws instead of +1 against ranged attacks. A This is my current front runner for the infantry section. If Nids do anything, it’s die to shooting. But there is something to be said about getting our Gaunts down to a 4+, or even a unit of Warriors to their best save ever of a 2+! You’d be hard-pressed to pick a better option than this one.
    Wings Note: See above re: Hive Guard
  • Unnatural Reactions: This unit can Heroically Intervene as if it were a character, and it can move up to 6” when doing so. B This is something the Genestealer Cults have had access to for a really long time with their unique warlord trait, though I see it used very rarely. The reason I like this at all is because it can catch people off guard when they fall back from a unit you have and you surprisingly remind them of your new ability to close the gap. This is definitely an ability people can play around, but can be incredibly useful for units that can live long enough to do it. 

Credit: BuffaloChicken


  • Dermic Symbiosis: The model gets a 5+ invulnerable save and is considered to have double the number of wounds left for determining what profile row to use on its damage table. B Being able to give an invul to one of our big bugs like a Tyranofex gun platform or even a Trygon Prime is pretty cool. Honestly giving a Trygon Prime an invul makes it a pretty scary presence.
    Wings Note: Given Tervigons just got a point cut, might be worth looking at them with this too.
  • Voracious Ammunition: At the end of your shooting phase, pick an enemy unit that lost a model to this unit’s attacks. That unit takes D3 mortal wounds. A This is pretty excellent. We pick one of our big bugs to put this on and watch as we put our Exocrine into a squad of Dark Reapers, kill some, and then add an extra D3 -just because-.
  • Accelerated Digestion: At the end of the Fight phase, if this model killed an enemy model, it regains up to 1 lost wound, to a max of 3 per turn. B- I think this has a place, especially with the updates for the tentacle big bugs. They are already going to be in the fight and being able to heal 3 wounds just for killing three guys? Pretty good. Add in our 2CP heal stratagem and we might have some pretty scary durable close combat monsters.
    Wings Note: Nah, this will never pay off, D.
  • Synaptic Enhancement: This model gains Shadow in the Warp and Synapse and gains the SYNAPSE keyword. A Being able to turn any big bug we want into a Synapse creature is a huge deal. One of my most annoying things to deal with is having something to sit in the back and babysit my gun beasts. Now, I’ll just turn one of those gun beasts INTO a babysitter. 
  • Murderous Size: Before the battle, pick a melee weapon this model is equipped with. It gets +1 Strength, +1 Damage, and +1 to its AP. I think this would have been better if it was applicable to any weapon on a big bug, not just their melee weapon. Though we are looking at some pretty cool options hear, like Massive Scything Talons being -4 for an example. Another option is using the Haruspex to really cleave into hordes thanks to the extra negative.
    Wings Note: This is an easy from me – think of it as turbo-charged Master Crafted for Flyrants and it sounds a lot more appealing.


Tyranid Warrior armed with Venom Cannon
A Tyranid Warrior armed with a Venom Cannon – Credit: Sharkopath

Hive Fleet Adaptations

Tyranids now get access to the ability to make their own Hive Fleets. These work similar to Successor Chapters, but you don’t get to pick a parent Fleet or anything so we avoid getting any of the cool stratagems and powers that the Codex hive fleets get. When you make your own Hive Fleet, you pick two of the following rules. Being unable to pick a parent fleet does kind of feel limiting when we get to see everything the Space Marines get on top of their own faction rules, but what’s here creates some pretty silly combinations to think about, especially if we want to focus on a specific unit type. And unlike with Space Marines, we won’t lose anything by combining multiple hive fleets in the same army.

  • Adaptive Exoskeleton: TERMAGANT, HORMAGAUNT, and GARGOYLE models with this get a 6+ invulnerable save. C+ This isn’t a terrible choice as it protects our troops and more squishy bits. Having a save is better than not having a save. A maybe take.  
  • Bestial Nature: When a model with this is on the bottom row of its damage table, it gets +2 Attacks. C Though this is a cool idea, the fact that all of our big bugs lose Weapon Skill when they degrade, doesn’t quite make the 2 extra attacks just enough.
  • Bio-metallic Cysts: Improve the AP of Scything Talons for models with this by 1. C+ I also find this to be okay. Scything Talons can be a commonplace around a lot of lists and being able to actually kill some Marines with our gaunts. The only thing I’m a little curious about is if this applies to the entire Scything Talon family or only the ones of Gaunts and Warriors. 
  • Biosphere Consumption: When a Monster with this adaptation loses a wound, if its unit didn’t move during your last Movement phase or it’s the first battle round, and there are no enemy units within 1” of that model’s unit, roll a D6. On a 6+, it doesn’t lose a wound. D This is a bad version of an Adaptation that already exists. Being forced to not move to get a 6+ FNP just isn’t strong enough to justify taking up one of our two spots. 
  • Cranial Channelling: Once per turn, when a model with this takes a Psychic test, you can re-roll the result. A Being able to support all of our pykers at the exact same time for essentially no cost is fantastic. This essentially turns every single one of our casters into an Eldar Farseer and with the new spells, we definitely want these to go off. I want to be clear though, this is only a once per turn Re-roll.
    Wings Note: Slightly unclear wording here as to whether it’s once for your whole army, or once per unit. If the former this goes a long way down, maybe to a C.
  • Feeding Frenzy: When you pile in for models with this, you can move up to 6”. A Being able to turn every unit you have in your army into a Hormagaunt seems pretty good. Mix this with Genestealers or even a Carnifex and you’re going to see some dividends.
    Wings Note: eh, B from me, not sure enough needs it to make it worth losing Kraken shenanigans.
  • Horror from Beyond: Subtract 1 from the Ld of models within 3” of a MONSTER with this. D Once again, -1 leadership is a hard thing to get behind. Especially as a core descriptor for your army. You can be a little aggressive with big bugs like the Malcereptor and Carnifex broods, but counting on this extra leadership just won’t get there. 
  • Hypermetabolic Acceleration: You can re-roll Advance rolls for units with this. B Movement is good. Helping our Genestealers and Hormagaunts get across the table is good. Just a good base chapter tactic. 
  • Membranous Mobility: When enemies make a melee attack against a unit that can FLY, subtract 1 from the hit roll. C+ I think this can be really useful. But the issue here is only a couple of units you have really benefit from this. We’re gonna see Hive Tyrants just love it, along with our Gargoyles. You can definitely use this trait, it just affects a very small percentage of our army. I guess it helps makes Zoanthropes really annoying in CC or as anvil units? It’s fine.
  • Metamorphic Regrowth: A model with this gains up to 1 lost wound at the start of your turn. B+ I personally love this one. I tend to play a lot of multi-wound units, and being able to have your whole army heal up slowly is just amazing. From your big bugs in the back, to hard to kill units like Zoanthropes, this trait can really go a long way.
    Wings Note: C+ from me, I don’t see it doing enough and am not a fan of “non-universal” traits unless they’re totally bonkers.
  • Morphic Sinews: Monsters with this don’t suffer the penalty for moving and firing Heavy Weapons nor Advancing and firing Assault weapons. B We can have some really big bugs that want to move just over there and not take any penalties for that movement.
    Wings Note: Eh, we reviewed a “go-wide” shooty Carnifex build a while back and this is tailor made for that. Combos well with Synaptic Augmentation.
  • Pack Hunters: When you make an attack with a melee weapon for a model with this adaptation against a unit with fewer models than the attacker’s unit, improve the AP of that attack by 1. B- This trait plays into that combo stuff I was talking about earlier. We can get our base units to a -2 AP or even -3AP. Mix this with the mass amounts of Genestealers and all armor will seem like paper to our melee infantry. 
  • Prey-sight: If a Monster with this adaptation makes a charge move, is charged, or heroically intervenes, they get +1 to hit rolls with melee weapons until the end of the turn. C+ I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I am not the biggest fan of our Monstrous melee units so far. I feel if you are going to make a monster-mash type lists, this is a required trait. Buffing Carnifex, Malcereptors, Toxicrene, and our Haruspex this could really push some of these builds over the top and allow us to really invest in these units.  
  • Senses of the Outer Dark: When a model with this adaptation would lose a wound to Overwatch fire, roll a D6. On a 4+, that wound isn’t lost. C+ Though I think this is a good trait, I think it’s truly only good for the Tau matchup to protect our big bugs. This isn’t a bad adaptation at all, but it’s going to be pretty situational. Again, I think this buffs a monster build over a smaller big unit build. 
  • Shrewd Predators: When a model with this adaptation consolidates, if there are no enemy models within 3”, it doesn’t have to move closer to the nearest enemy model. C-  I think this is a cheeky ability for sure. Giving us the ability to wipe a unit then move wherever we want is good and all. I feel on average we would be looking to tie units up, not to move away from them. Situational at best.
  • Sporemist Spines: A unit with this can Advance in a turn in which it Falls Back. D Running away is fine. Being able to run away a little farther is also fine. Situational ability, don’t find it worth building an army around.
  • Synaptic Augmentation: When a <HIVE FLEET> unit with this adaptation that is within 6” of a friendly <HIVE FLEET> psyker or <HIVE FLEET> Synapse unit fires Overwatch or is picked to shoot or fight with, you can re-roll a single hit roll. F Again. Very situational, and it’s only ONE hit roll. When I was first reading through this, my heart jumped a little as I thought it was going to be a Tau type overwatch. Unfortunately, it’s just a single hit reroll and not worth the trait.
    Wings Note: I think you’re waaaaaaaaaaaay too down on this, and would have it as a B. It’s weird to give a conditional, worse version of Expert Crafters, but it’s still potentially strong on go wide shootyfex builds

Wrap Up

Overall, Blood of Baal provides Tyranids with some great options that really improve their chances moving forward. We think there are a few things here that help give them a much-needed push into the realm of respectability. Whether your strategy focuses on charging into melee, shooting from a distance, or overloading the enemy with psychic powers, there’s something here for everyone and we’re excited to see Tyranids get some love because these days anything that helps a non-marine army compete is a blessing. As always, if you have any feedback, questions, or comments, feel free to drop us a note in the comments below or email us at