Tyranid Ripper Wing?

Email In:

Hey Fritz,

I've been going through some of your blogs and a thought ran through my mind.

You can run a crap-ton of rippers, with a decent amount of wounds and assaults, a lot of people consider them tie up units. Couldn't a large number be fatal, especially combined with something else?

My question is, would it be possible to create a ripper-based army with the Parasite of Mortrex as HQ?

You could run him with the fast attack sky lashers. Attacking smaller units to create swarms of rippers to wreak havoc.

My issues is I'm not sure what kind of firepower to back it all up with, or if there should be some at all. Or maybe even the deathleaper as a distraction unit. Or even possibly Old One Eye to stay with a swarm to get and contribute his leadership to them.

I hope you can help me, this has been bugging me for a while.

Thanks man,


Reply Out:

Cody, I hope you have a lot of rippers- not just enough to throw down on the table, but enough for the spawns also…

I played around with a ripper concept army for a while and it certainly was fun to play- especially when the rippers made contact and started to snack. What held me back from full playing it was the fact that you need a godly amount of rippers to make it work, either leaning towards proxies or unpainted trash standing in for them which I would never run. That said, if one wanted to pursue it with the state of Tyranids at this time you could probably build up the required collection of swarms via ebay, online 40K trade sites, even guys at your club. I picked up SO much ‘nid stuff from all the guys at the club who jumped ship once Tyranids got nerfed…

So the question is how to build a themed concept army, but still have some “competitive” bit, while being aware of the limitations placed on building a themed army- something that always happens in 40K when you are constrained by fluff/theme.

The goal is to throw down the most rippers while still being able to use them effectively and in theory win games. Here is my list for 2000 points, if you are playing 1750, 1500 just start pairing it down taking a few out from each unit till you hit the magic number.

== HQ ==

The Parasite of Mortrex (1) = 160 pts.

Tyranid Prime (1) - Deathspitter, Lash Whip And Bonesword, AG = 110 pts.

== Elites ==

Hive Guard Brood (2) = 100 pts.

Hive Guard Brood (2) = 100 pts.

Hive Guard Brood (2) = 100 pts.

== Troops ==

Termagant Brood (20) - Fleshborer = 100 pts.

Termagant Brood (20) - Fleshborer = 100 pts.

Termagant Brood (15) - Fleshborer = 75 pts.

Termagant Brood (15) - Fleshborer = 75 pts.

Ripper Swarm Brood (9) - AG, Toxin Sacs = 162 pts.

Ripper Swarm Brood (9) - AG, Toxin Sacs = 162 pts.

== Fast Attack ==

Sky-Slasher Swarm Brood (9) - Spinefists, AG, Toxin Sacs = 252 pts.

Sky-Slasher Swarm Brood (9) - Spinefists, AG, Toxin Sacs = 252 pts.

Sky-Slasher Swarm Brood (9) - Spinefists, AG, Toxin Sacs = 252 pts.

So we are going to break this army up into three “groups” The first is the parasite with a sky-slasher group attached and the two other sky slasher groups. The second group is the two regular ripper swarms, and the third group is the prime attached to a gaunt group and the other gaunts.

Hive guard first- these guys operate out of their own group and want to be in the center of the table. They have two functions- the first is to take out any units that can tie up your rippers- especially dreadnoughts, and the second goal is to open up the lightest vehicles that they can. Don’t bother shooting AV 10 or AV 14- let the gaunts/prime shoot the AV 10, and ignore the AV 14- the guys in that land raider won’t want to get out…

In terms of shooting, all the las cannons, S8 psybolts, etc. while they will be deadly to your rippers- killing a base a shot, they will be targeting your hive guard first. For you this is a race against time- the hive guard will go down, the question is how many shots can you get in with them opening vehicles and how many shots can you absorb before dying to get your rippers into position before those guns turn on them.

Hive guard are the best option- old one eye, while cool, will get shot to death and taken out in a single round- especially if you are trying to get cover saves. Zopes in a pod are for a different army build…

Synapse, this army needs synapse more than every and it will cannibalize itself real fast if that fails. The parasite is synapse but he will be moving out and will eventually die as we are going to be aggressive with him. A tervigon will get shot up with just being one, so an embedded prime is the way to go. Bounce him from unit to unit as needed and don’t put wounds on him. As for “theme”, model him up as a giant ripper, or maybe use one of the OOP warriors with some rippers.

Let’s start with the parasite and the fast moving group. Their job is to move out as fast as they can and make contact as quickly as possible- preferably attacking units that have been disembarked by the hive guard. Although tempting, go for any weaker units, stuff the parasite can kill depending on the army of course so you can spawn more rippers. He and the sky slashers are not a deathstar type unit but rather a spawner like a tervigon.

This group will be sacrificial to kill the enemy, tie them, up and basically cause as big of a mess as possible.

While they are moving out the second group of rippers moves ahead of the prime and guants. Their job is to chomp anything that breaks through the first ripper swarm mass and kill them or tie them up. They don’t have any guns since the gaunts behind provide the shooting- less shots and weaker shooting then the sky slashers but the unit they engage should be weaker. From here the last group of gaunts then follow up in support and to claim objectives which is why we have four groups as 15 strong assuming a NOVA like mission format.

Getting the charge with the sky slashers should be easy, and if you have to lead with a non parasite unit first to bait the opponent and then move in with the rest. Assuming you are going against a marine group (it’s not like anybody plays anything else these days…)that is 45 attacks on the charge wounding on “4”’s with rerolls on the failed wounds.

If you can shoot before the charge that is 36 shots twin linked, wounding on a 5+ THEN followed by the 45 attacks charge.

Of course we don’t have to point out, getting tied up by dreads, washed by flamers, and templates suck from the ripper POV, but that is just how it is…


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