Hammer of Math: 9th Edition Tyranid Codex

This week’s Hammer of Math gets straight up Synaptic and looks at some of the new effects within the recently released Codex: Tyranids.

The new Tyranid book is out and I can say with firsthand experience that it is a LOT of fun to play. I like big bugs (and I cannot lie) and this book gives you plenty of opportunities to use them in all of their amazing glory. Whether it’s Harpies flying down and spurting heavy venom cannon rounds, Carnifexes giving you Very Special chitinous hugs, or Maleceptors exploding you with raw mental energy this book has a bit of everything. Except Rippers. They’re pretty much dead, unfortunately. Sorry Rippy, maybe in a few balance dataslates or something.

Tyranids Carnifex
Tyranids Carnifex. Credits: That Gobbo

Carnifex Loadout

The Carnifex received a huge boost this edition. Old One Eye is absolutely terrifying, and the Screamer-Killer now gets 11 attacks on the charge. Most melee-focused units will want to take Adrenal Glands (+1 S and +1 Move), or possibly Chitin Thorns (-1 to AP for all melee attacks), while Enhanced Senses (3+ BS) remains obvious for Carnifexes that want to carry guns. One thing I was curious about was exactly what the difference in damage level would be between a hybrid Carnifex (ranged and melee) versus a dedicated melee monster like a Screamer-Killer. I calculated the average effect in two scenarios; wounds dealt to a T8 threat with varying levels of protection and kills versus T5 3W targets which might be sitting on an objective.

To read the chart below, look at your preferred unit option and then see what the value is corresponding to your desired scenario. You can then compare the effects across the different options to see which turns out the best. The values (outside of the heavy venom cannon) are for melee output after charging, so for Carnifexes which could potentially deal damage in the melee and shooting phases you can add the HVC Shooting line to calculate the actual total. For example the Carnifex with a heavy venom cannon, crusher claws, enhanced senses, and chitin thorns will average a respectable 14.67 wounds against a T8/2+ target. Not bad for 125 points.

The results show that the added damage of the crusher claws makes them a superior option to even a Behemoth Screamer-Killer, while the Screamer-Killer has a distinct advantage in terms of wiping out heavy infantry. Against really heavy targets featuring an invulnerable save and damage reduction the crusher claws are again the best option, even including the extra attacks for the Screamer-Killer. One thing that I didn’t add was the bio-plasmic scream of the Screamer-Killer, but since it’s only damage 1 the effect is marginal. The results also show that Old One Eye is absolutely terrifying on the charge, and this doesn’t include added damage from effects or Stratagems like Adrenal SurgeTrampling Charge, or Voracious Appetite.

Credit: PierreTheMime

Psychic Insanity

While Tyranids have always made extensive use of the Psychic phase, the new book provides a lot of really interesting combinations which make that even more exciting. Players can use Neurothropes to apply Warp Siphon to PSYKER units within Synaptic Link range, allowing them to roll an extra D6 and discard one die in every Psychic test. They also natively get a +1 to Psychic tests and grant the Psychic Augmentation Synaptic Imperative, which adds 1 to Psychic and Deny the Witch tests and allows mortal wounds to be ignored on a 5+ for units within 6″ of a SYNAPSE model. Finally there is the Resonance Barb which provides a +1 to Psychic tests and allows the model to know an extra power. Against opponents (including other Tyranid armies) the Shadow of the Warp ability imposes a -1 penalty to Psychic Tests to units within 18″ of the model. This means that individual Psychic Tests could swing wildly depending on what’s influencing the roll. Fortunately I made a chart which will help you figure out your options. To figure out the effect of modifying the roll simply shift the curve below left or right depending on the modifier. The bottom line is that Warp Siphon is incredibly effective, even against an enemy dropping Deny the Witch.

Maleceptor. Credit: Rockfish
Maleceptor. Credit: Rockfish

Maleceptor Brain Bursting

The Maleceptor received a huge boost in the new book, with Psychic Overload revamped to an incredible level. Now every time the Maleceptor successfully performs a psychic action or manifests a psychic power and the result of the Psychic Test was 7 or greater it inflicts mortal wounds on the closest enemy model within 12″. At full strength every successful roll deals 3 mortal wounds, which means the potential to deal up to 12 mortal wounds a turn if the model performs a psychic action and manifests three powers by using Power of the Hive Mind. With that in mind, how likely is it that a Maleceptor will get off all four powers? The chart below shows that even with no bonuses and a 2d6 Psychic Test the probability of getting at least 2 successes is better than average. With Warp Siphon you have an 83% chance of getting at least 3 attempts off, and even facing Deny the Witch you still have a good chance. With every success translating to 3 mortal wounds (plus the damage dealt from the actual power) this quickly becomes a nasty way to deal with the enemy.

Hive Fleet Dendrobatidae Tyrant and Rippers. Credit: Kevin Genson

Wrapping Up

This looks like it’s going to be a fun codex, especially if GW does the smart thing and bans Crusher Stampeded before it can make life miserable for everyone. Whether your preference is for giant bugs with guns, giant bugs that manifest powers, or giant bugs that crush your body with mind bullets, there’s something for everyone. Expect to see more articles on this book in the future, and if there’s anything in particular you think we should look at please let us know!

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