Ripper Deathstar! FTW!

Luciferiel Ophelia Commented:

I have 50 ripper bases... cause they're annoying as hell to come at you in an endless tide of bodies in Apoc games. Plus, I bought 12 boxes of gaunts, and 15 of the warrior boxes, on top of the stuff I already had for my 4k point army before Apoc deals were going on... This post is relative to my interests for fun of the game.

Taken from comments regarding my recent Parasite post got me thinking about some of the other “fun” Tyranid stuff one can do with an insane amount of rippers from some other experimental builds I was playing around with…

Who doesn’t like a deathstar unit? Is there nothing better than running some unit up and wiping out another unit before it can even attack? I’m talking about delivering dozens of wounds, ultimate over kill 100%. Most armies have access to them, and the meta is slowly evolving where one could even argue that you want (read need) two of them to be competitive these days.

But what about in smaller point games?

This is what I was experimenting with my Tyranids- smaller point deathstar units for use in escalation games where I have to work my way up to getting Swarmlord and his buddies on the table.

Take a prime for synapse, give him bone sword/lash whip and rending claws so he can threaten vehicles and then attach him to a unit of nine rippers with adrenal glands and poison. Get two of these setups on the table. Against marines (does anybody play anything else?) on the charge you will be throwing down 45 ripper attacks re-rolling failed wounds, followed by the prime shots. Against certain killer IC’s you get the prime into base, and they will die before they can even get a shot off. Running two groups costs next to nothing, and with the small size of the rippers getting cover saves, even 3+ cover saves is possible. If you get charged, you are still throwing out around 36 attacks and wounding on a 4+ and then the prime.

Even better? They are rippers and so thought of as trash, and mostly ignored till they hit, at least in my test games. Of course if your opponent has flamers or template weapons you cry, but who plays these anymore either right?

Throw down those two groups backed by warriors with venom cannons to break open vehicles (going on the models LO has in stock, and then throw down the gaunts as fodder/screening units to block the rippers from getting charged.

Troop slot is going to get crowded so consider modeling up a tervigon and getting your gaunts that way.

Necrons = August?

Could it be true? Another non marine codex? August? Hope it is true, but it would really kill my Grey Knight plans mid stream...

Flayed ones as troops means I could do my vision of a 40K tomb kings army. My nightmare list might be making a return to 5th edition? Who knows...

The Terrain Question?

A recent post on YTTH by Stelek regarding the proper amount of 40K terrain and some comments here and there on my own blog regarding terrain has a question I’ve been meaning to ask for some time.

What is the proper amount of terrain in 40K and does it make some armies unplayable in certain matchups? We all know the 25% rule but 25% of what? What is the optimal mix? A big piece of LOS blocking terrain in the center? Something like that would really help my Tyranids at least make it to the center. In all of my tournament experiences so fat I’ve never looked at a table and thought- wow that is a lot of terrain! Usually it is the opposite- I hope I don’t get stuck playing on that table!

Now from the POV of a club and tournament organizer I don’t think this is a conspiracy of sorts. As a TO you have X number of tables to fill and sometimes you have to make things stretch a bit to pack in more players, and more players = more fun and more loot.

At a club smaller terrain is easy to carry and store. So what do you guys think the correct amount of terrain is? What armies get screwed by lots of terrain? Little terrain?

Grey Knight "Stuff" Coming Soon! Really!

Really, I promise! Been working on them also, just letting the rest of the interwebz say what they have to say first since as always I want to do the exact opposite. Besides, I have to beat Jawaballs to the punch by playing them first AND continue to kick Black Matt's chaos marines around some more. Sadly, no Jokero spam...

Battle For Salvation 40K Tournament

In the name of the god emperor of mankind you are invited to attend the Battle For Salvation 40K tournament on May 21, 2011 in White Plains, New York. 3 Rounds, NOVA format, full prize support.

Online registration is open here: .

While my Tyranids are ready to go, so are my Grey Knights, but I also here that my 40K bud Jawaballs is also bringing HIS Grey Knight army, and of course I’m sure that Black Matt, Brother Captain James and the likes will also be playing…

Hope to see (and play) some of you guys at the event!

Tyranids Vs. Necrons

Tyranids vs. Necrons last night at the club, and I can’t remember the last time I faced Necrons with any of my armies….vs. Bishop at Games Day 2009 for our annual yearly game? Got to try out a few more things, mainly three tervigons and poison/furious charge gaunts, which under certain conditions are sweet- like charging a C’Tan locked in the assault so he can’t pull out of combat- Nighbringer was proxied for the Deceiver. Also has me revisiting my venomthropes in certain situations- sometimes you have to move out of that 6” 5+ cover range and can FNP thrown by tervigons make up for this?


Well, not counting the twenty gaunts I started with I spawned 133 over the game- I’m going to be keeping track of my spawns for my loyal readers, of course this was better than average, and I need to still get my gaunt reserves up.

The Deceiver still has his place, I convinced, but he needs to win on the charge. Charging my tervigon Mr. Crabs put the hurt on, but I held and then spawned lots of poisoned gaunts and charged killing the C’Tan. Funny point in the game- Mr. Crabs then casts FNP and dies to a perils of the warp!

MVP of the night? The monolith hands down. Center of the table surrounded by objectives, flux arc hitting half a dozen units, pulling off gaunts as fast as I could put them back on the table.

I’m also convinced 100% never pay for gaunts and they are utter fodder- just make sure you have the tervigons to keep the fodder up. In my 2K list which is still a WIP I’m debating another tervigon vs. more genestealers. With my gaunts I was assaulting Necrons in cover knowing I would still get wiped, but with the elite (read overpriced) nature of Necrons even killing one or two was worth sacrificing a brood of gaunts.

Other then my hive guard I had nothing to scratch the monolith which did escape my notice at first. No 2d6 monster pen. So all I could do was glance and hope for an immobilization with the hive guard which was fine- what else were they going to shoot at? Heavy destroyers in the back were too far away to get anyway.

So now as mentioned how can I beef things up to 2K for more and more tournaments that like to play at this level without just throwing models down on the table for the sake of filling points? I’ve got my heavy support slots maxed.

3 X 3 Tyranid Build

Been playing around with a 3 x 3 ‘nid build. Three trygons, three tervgons, three stealer squads along with some venoms and hive guard. Works at 2000 points, at 1750 only one stealer unit and then it really isn’t three by three I guess.

Anyway, three trygons go out front, three tervigons behind buffing them with FNP, venoms in-between for the 5+ cover save. Gaunts get stocked and spawned with counter attack and poison. I lose embedded synapse since one of the tervigons is an HQ choice, not totally optimal since an MC scoring unit is awesome, but there just isn’t the points for the three and a prime + warriors.

Warrants some more play testing so I need to scrounge up another tervigon and I’m out of carnifex kits, so lets head to the Tyranids bitz box. Three projects already in there, a kitbash hive tyrant, a brood of y-stealers made out of oop hybrids, and something with the Red Terror.

Also sitting in there is Old One Eye who was going to join my hypernids army, but he is already in there, so his stock is perfect to mutate into a tervigon, plus he is a carnifex so it isn’t much of a stretch. I like the looks of the claws so let’s add another pair, along with a front chest piece and cut down geno-sacks inside to look like spawning glands. Chet piece for the back also but it looks out of place, plus I don’t want to cover up the battle damage.

Prime him white over the first paint job, no need to strip it since the detail is still intact, and then it is onto the washes. First body parts are sepia and then purple for the shell. Goes on very light, but dries darker. Cities of death bitz hit up with a black wash for the base- for now, eventually he will get a Jawabase like the other two, but I need him for gaming on Monday, and then finish up with some green ink for the bio ribbing on the armes and legs along with some yellow highlights/blending on the joints, claws, and feet to give it a little pop. Done and done.

Games Day 2011?

Time to start thinking about Games Day 2011 and making plans? No Baltimore this year (sad face) so Jawaballs and myself plan to fly out to Chicago and will just change things up a bit with not having our own club/hobby table.

What to do about open gaming this year? For the past four years we always had a table where our blog readers, YouTube viewers, etc. could come up and play a game against us. Not really an open challenge, although it could be, but rather a friendly time to throw down some dice. We try to fit in as many games as we can, but there are always some guys who we can’t fit in due to just running out of time. I hate that, and would stay as long as I could to get all the games in- why can’t games day end at 8 PM?

Grey Knights last year...Grey Knights this year?

Now we can easily grab an open gaming table and play and hang out there, but in what format?

Options, and I could use some feedback here include…

Playing 1750-1500 point games but limit it to only three turn so we can fit in more games?

Play “team” games of 1K points each player, two on each side?

Bring it down to 500 points or a combat patrol level game?

Your thoughts?

Personally I really like the 500 point game idea either with regular 40K rules or combat patrol level rules. Could play and wrap up a game in thirty minutes AND I’d build and paint an army just for Games Day and raffle it off for free at the end of Games Day- come up and find us, get a ticket for the raffle, and at the end of the day pull a number out of the box for the winner. Somebody goes home with a nice little starter army and I have less to carry on the airplane.

100% we are also going to be doing the banner completion again and Jawaballs is already at work on a [censored by the Inquisition] banner which is going to be his best work yet. JB took first place last year, is up on the GW site AND made it into White Dwarf so he has to return again this year to defend his title- honor demands it. While his skill and hard work certainly did influence the win, it was the support of the fans (is that the right word?) that sealed the win. The Chaos Khorne runner up guy was a fierce rival, but legions of adults, manchildren, and neckbeards screaming JAWABALLS put JB over the top over the ruinous powers FTW!

Then there is the day after…

We always stay over to the next day and used to visit the battle bunker in Baltimore for more gaming and fun. Last year Brother Captain James almost cut his hand off with a sword before we even made it out of the parking lot (no exaggeration) so who knows about this year? Any local clubs or hobby stores to play in on Sunday?

Dark Angels Dualwing Vs. Tyranids

This past Monday was Dual Wing vs. my Tyranids, three objectives, table quarters deployment. My opponent had a mix of bike units, terminators, a dread, speeders, a land raider, and the master of the ravenwing on the bike. One objective was behind the water bottles, I mean mechanicus towers on the left, the second was near the water treatment plant, and the last over to the right. My plan was to take the one on the left and the center, and give the one on the right.

My opponent went first and deployed the dread, speeders, land raider and a termie group inside. The bikes and remaining terminators were put in reserve, and not to sound like a jerk (I’m really not), I knew the game was won right there…

I deployed as far forward as I could, seized first turn and moved right into the center. Hive Guard blew off two weapons and immobilized the dread, tervigons pooped grunts, etc. Took some las hits, assault cannons and heavy bolters, but not in enough volume to punch through FNP and the 5+ cover save on the trygons. As the rest of the army came in, since I controlled the center and could dictate the distance, they landed or entered, shot, and then got assaulted. We ended the game on turn five with the Tyranids holding two objectives, and the Dark Angels holding one with a few terminators, but about the be assaulted and wiped out by a trygon.
What is to learn from this? We’ll lets back it up to the start of the game and pretend I was playing the Dark Angels. I’m going to share with you how I would beat my own army, which might help out is you face Tyranids or a similar critical mass list. Will probably turn around and bite me in the next tournament, but what they hell…

So what is my number on advantage with terminators and bikes? Speed? Perhaps. T5 and 2+ saves? Not really vs. my MC and poisoned gaunts. The advantage that the DA have is relentless on the bikes and terminators and that is what we would use to punish the Tyranids.

Take first turn, and set up everything, a nice firing line front and center with the bikes and terminators, land raider, dread, and speeders behind.

First turn what to shoot at? The thing that every player thus far has ignored but is the secret sauce of the list- the venoms. Rip into them with bolter fire, sure I’ll get a 4+ cover save, hit them with las shots to instant kill, taking out three isn’t a problem.

With them down I lose the 5+ cover save on the big bugs, which over multiple turns is a big deal. Go to work with the las/krak/and assault cannon rends targeting one at a time. When the Tyranids get close you can then safely counter charge and not have to take dangerous terrain test. Charge in a blob, not one on one or multicharge. Meaning throw two terminator groups on one trygon, a bike group and termies on the other. Sure you will lose some, but then the trygon goes down.

If you need more turns of shooting then zip away with the bikes and get in the land raider. Lots of players start their marine in vehicles vs. Tyranids b/c they do so vs. all the other marine armies out there. Natural since that is the bulk of the players. Vs. ‘nids get out and shoot- even a single shot bolter at 24” in mass does damage vs. an army that is mainly T3 with no armor saves. When the bugs get close then hop in your rides and move away. Which is another tell tale sign as a Tyranid player that I look for- whether you start your guys in or out vs. Tyranids tells me more then you may think.

That is how I would have done it, with the FAQ to the ‘Angles, and a solid Dualwing list starting on the table is 100% the way to do. Just because you have terminators, teleport homers, and scout moves doesn’t mean you want to use them. 99% of the time you don’t want to…


Starting Space Marines


First off, thank you for your time and all of your awesome videos. They're very descriptive and insightful. I wanted to contact you, seeking guidance on how to become a Templar player. I'm new to the tabletop, but I have played 4th edition. Not much, and it was years ago. Over the years I've kept up with WH40k through DoW and from the Codex/Rulebooks.

To get me started, knowing that I needed one HQ choice and 2 troop choices, I picked up the Space Marine Battleforce, and the Space Marine Masters of the Chapter box. Essentially what I want to do is have my own chapter, but use BT rules. Is that possible? Also, I really liked your assault builds for your Templar armies, and thats the direction I want to proceed. As my HQ choice, I want to use the Master of the Fleets model, which wields a Thunder hammer, as my Chapter Master. And is it possible to even use one of the other models as an Emp's Champ?

What do you recommend, as a beginner, as an appropriate course to take in order to get me to the table and kicking some ass?

Thank you for your time Fritz, and again, thank you for all of your vids and advice.


Buck, thanks for emailing- my advice would be this- start out with two HQ choices and two troop choices. For Black Templars you will need the Emperor’s Champion which could be the EC model, or even a single Grey Knight model. While he isn’t mandatory in lower point games you want him so you can have army wide preferred enemy and can get use to that tactically. After him add your chapter master like you have and then two troop choices in razorbacks and rhinos- put the EC in one and the CM in the other.

If this is around 500-600 points start playing games with this point level. The goal is going to be two thing- learn the rules and build up your army in both a cost effective way with the units you want to play and use. I’m going to go off on a tangent here, but it is important when starting a new army.

Most of the time the worst thing a person can do is go out and buy a full 1750 point army. You now have a ton of models to build, paint, and learn. Often this leads to the grey army syndrome where nothing gets completed and it is hard/overwhelming to play and paint so many units when you are learning.

Start small, which is sounds like you are doing. Two HQ and two troops will let you learn the mechanics of the game in a manageable order and you will learn the rules/things to remember with you army. Also, with that to build and paint you can really do a good job.

Regarding games and learning- do you have a club or hobby/GW store to play at? I ask b/c you want to do two things- play some games with your small army, and play some doubles games with another Space Marine player. Meaning, let’s say you were at our Battle For Salvation Club and I was playing my Tyranids vs. Brother Captain James’ Ulta Marines. You would team up with him, add your units to the game, and I’d add in a few more models on my side to make up the points.

Teaming up like this will not only help you learn quicker in both game mechanics and tactics, but you will get to see other Space Marine units in action which will help you to decide what to buy next- power armor is still power armor at the end of the day. When you find another unit you like and can use in your army ,buy, build, and paint it, bringing your army up to X points.

Eventually you will hit 1500-1750 and have both a fully painted army AND one that you can play very well having learned it along the way.

As for your own chapter with BT rules- 100% yes, even Games Workshop says so. I’ve got my Red Templars- you just have to make sure your units are modeled with the correct wargear, weapons, and options so there is no confusion on the tabletop. So as mentioned with the Emperor’s Champion- he is a dude with a power sword and a bolt pistol- so any single model cold work for this- the actual GW model, a GK model as mentioned, a vet model, etc.

Hope that helps!


Parasite of Mortrex?

Couple of request on using the Parasite of Mortrex in your ‘nids list, here out to be referred to as PoM. I ran him extensively in both my Null Deployment model and Alpha Warrior model for a bit and here are my finding to consider if you are looking at this model for your army list.

From a 100% competitive point of view the PoM is out. 160 points is a nice chunk when you can get an alpha warrior with lash whips for 100 points. With Tyranids 60 points is a big deal. On the other side he isn’t a hive tyrant with all the needed trappings to make one work- wings, old adversary/hive commander, and guard to soak up some wounds. 160 points gets you the buy in with everything you need. Now that isn’t to say he can’t work in a competitive list or from a fun point of view, it just depends on how ruthless you are in tearing down your list based on efficiency. But for the sake of this article, we are going to plunk down the 160 points and buy him.

Next step is rippers, and no I’m not getting ahead of myself. Part of his cost is the assumption that he will spawn rippers, and much like the tervigon you need X amount of gaunts to cover an entire game. You are not getting your 160 points worth (and FUN!) if you only have a few rippers to throw down. I found on average you are going to want 30 bases or so of rippers. If he is going to be a regular feature in your list you want to make sure you have those rippers ready to do! And then you need a model for the parasite itself.

So now you have those, or are working on getting them, so we can move onto the delivery system.

At first glance and from other popular boards the wisdom is to throw him in a bunch of gargoyles, charge forward and start spawning rippers. Not quite, and this shows a lack (no insult intended) of overall Tyranid understanding. You need to consider PoM, the delivery system unit, AND the rest of your army.

Here is what you want. PoM moves up, hits something in assault with its unit, kills everything, spawns some rippers and then moves onto the next unit. The last thing you want is to be tied up for a turn or two in the assault. Tyranids are an army of attrition- expending bugs against the opponent. You need to be killing and then moving on. Gargoyles have no armor save, are T3, and are wack in the assault. Any opponent worth half the game will throw the attacks on the gargoyles, cause lots of wounds, and then you will lose the assault and take fearless checks thanks to synapse.

Shrikes are the second best option but get a bit pricey and still have no armor save for the points.

Best delivery system that I found was a brood of genestealers. Here me out since the two seem to conflict. Stealers have a high threat of attacks, rending, striking first (most of the time) and are T4. Throw PoM in there and when the entire brood hits they are going to hit hard. (Broodlord optional but recommended). ‘Stealers don’t shoot, and PoM doesn’t shoot so the fact that PoM will be reduced to moving 6” isn’t that bad- move both, run the group, etc. Keep in mind PoM doesn’t have fleet.

Keep in mind that with this configuration the ‘stealers are going to attract lots of shots since they are ‘stealers and are scary. Use terrain for the 4+ cover save and throw some tervigon FNP love on them. Tactically I do this: Infiltrate the ‘stealers up ahead, and on my turn move PoM to join the unit, and throw FNP on the unit. Turn two take some shots moving ahead, and on turn three start assaulting. Use your hive guard and other shooting to at least crack open one or two vehicles for PoM to get in there and potentially spawn on the dumped guys inside.

Final notes- against T4 armies PoM is fun to play, and he can threaten vehicles on the charge also which is nice, against T3 armies he is brutal with the spawning.

Tyranids Vs. Daemons Battle Report

My list is locked and loaded, refined, and built, so now it is all about playing the different armies and builds I might encounter at a tournament so I can further tweak my tactics as needed- think a game plan for the game plan.

Did I mention that I’ll be brining Tyranids for the upcoming spring/summer tournament seasons? Grey Knights will happen in the fall/winter since I need development time to build a list, model\paint, and then put it thought the paces. Plus, with Tyranids now being the gimps of 5th edition it gives me something to prove and use as an advantage.

Also, at this point, losses are more valuable to me then a win. A win on the table means everything worked as it should, a loss means something needs to be fixed tactically or refined, so figure it out and make sure it doesn’t happen again…

This week at the club I got in a game vs. Daemons with kill points as the mission, which suck balls for Tyranids. Maybe daemons also? Game ended in a draw, which was 100% my fault, should have been a win, I won’t say easy, but I set myself up for failure as soon as I deployed. How and why?

I’ll share that in a moment, as first I have to remind myself of my own advice, advice I give to you guys and gals here on the blog.

When playing a “new” army or an army vs. another army for the first time, you have to bypass that gaming function in your mind that says, oh, I’m playing vs. X then I need to do this since that is what I did last time. Well last time I played vs. daemons ,and most of my daemon battles have been with my Eldar harlequins. Tyranids are not Harlequins, but I was on auto-pilot, forgetting I needed to step back and ask those questions from the beginning, fresh for Tyranids. What works with most armies doesn’t work for some armies…

So here is what I did. Dawn of war, deployed my tervigons and the parasite (Note: The parasite was in my list for a few games to try some stuff out, in the end, sadly he is out despite the fun and amusing spawn rules, and the fact I have forty ripper bases!) as far out as I could. Turn one my stuff walks on, tervigons poop gaunts, parasite joins one group and the spread out.

What is my SOP with daemons? For Harlequins? Spread out, cover the entire table as best I can, and then pounce on whatever comes in. Kill everything on the first drop and then clean up as the rest comes in.

Tried the same with my Tyranids, ran around with my MC’s punching daemons, but the three prince dudes and Fateweaver took a huge toll in kill points, although I did get to send Fateweaver back to the warp with a LD check of 12! Huzzah!

What should I have done?

Crystal clear after the game in that I was slapping my head.

Infiltrate my genestealer brood about center, so when the single soul grinder dropped I can assault and at least blow off its weapons in the assault- mainly neutralize the template. Then with the rest of my Tyranids, hang out castled up in a corner and wait.

Let the daemons assault me from cover and with my venomthropes providing it with the 6" dangerous terrain also. No attack for charging, dangerous terrain tests, and then dropping them to I 1 which would have helped on the blood crushers and khorne princes etc.

I should have seen this at the start of the game, taking that step back and sticking to my overall synergy plan, but then asking- what is nerfed in the daemon codex that I can exploit. Won’t make that mistake again next time with any army…

Tyranid 3 X 3 X 3 Army Build AKA Tyranid Devastator List

Over the next few posts, etc. I thought it would be nice to drop some alternative Tyranid lists that I have been running and playtesting at 1750-2000 points for you guys and gals to try out. Easily the #1 email request I have been getting recently. Let’s kick it off with my 3 X 3 X 3 list.

Personally I fancy myself a finesse player in that I prefer to use deception, guile, and tactics on the tabletop to win, but sometimes a more direct approach is needed, often dictated by the very army that you play- Tyranids being a perfect example.

So here is my 3 X 3 X 3 build @ 1750 simply and eloquently put:
3 Tervigons W/ Toxin & Catalyst 1HQ / 2 Troops
2 x 10 Termagaunts
3 x 3 Hive Guard
3 Trygons W/ Adrenal Glands

Each three element breaks down to its own independent army which is also nice in building the army slowly over time given the $ buy in.


Trygons in front, tervigons behind them, one group of guard mixed in, the other two to the right and left as wings. Gaunts fill in the gaps as needed. Everything starts moving and running forward as needed with the Tervigons throwing FNP on the Trygons, and the ‘Guard opening up cans so your big bugs have something to assault. On the surface hardly anything ground breaking right?

Yes, so let’s go under the hood of the army for a moment…

Sometimes based on the mission, etc. you have to start breaking up your army where optimally you want to run it as a compact core. Given that Tyranids need synapse and their specialized units (like Eldar) fold without proper support, going out on your own isn’t a good idea. As opposed to Space Marines, like a tactical squad, while not uber in shooting or assaulting can holds its own for a bit and operate independently. On a side note I think Tyranid Warriors were intended to act like this, but they fail given the amount of missile, melta, and las on the table- something obviously not found in GW’s play testing. Was immune to instant death via synapse that overpowered and game changing?

Back to the post…

Part of the 3 x 3 x 3 build outline is that it allows you to form up like Devastator when needed, grouped like a core, or break off into individual Constructicons as needed. We have this with three groups each consisting of a Tervigon, Trygon, and Hive Guard group. Terv throws FNP on the Try, HG support, and spawned Gaunts act as a shielding unit. Using the Gaunts are a much as artform in the list itself, which we can get into at another time.

I also have to add that that Hive Guard are what helps make the list work, but not for the reasons that you may think, three groups of three are needed and not the more popular 3 x 2 which does save much needed points while still throwing out a good amount of pointy S8 toothpicks.

I’ve posted before how a group of 3 venoms are much needed when running Trygon spam so you can at least get a 5+ cover save, when combined with FNP actually makes three Trygons a credible threat. Where the venoms protect with the 5+ the Hive Guard protect by making sure those missile shots go on them and not the Tyrgons. SM players tend to notice real quick when they get a taste of their own missile spam coming back at them, especially if you go with the Tervigon move, run, shoot power for a potential first turn mini-alpha strike with the Hive Guard. The Hive Guard in those numbers and shots will attract the focus of your opponent's shooting since they can directly threaten razorspam, which means no shots on the Trygons for a bit so you don't need the venoms.

So let’s talk buy in if you are interested in the list and tactics that power it.

$590 stock from the GW website with no discount for 3 Trygons, 3 Carnifexes (kitbash Tervigons), 9 Hive Guard, and 50 Gaunts. Second to this, your local hobby shop and other online vendors will get you 20%-40% off. Other options are to acquire the Gaunts second hand/used and substitute the old OOP Warriors for Hive Guard which are easy to find online and for trade. $20 per Hive Guard hurts!

But what about starting out with a Constructicon first?

HQ: Tervigon
Troops: 2 X 10 Termagaunts (+10 Extra For Spawning)
Elite: 1 X 3 Hive Guard
Heavy: 1 Trygon

$230 stock GW site, X% off from your local store or online, used models, etc. You can start playing in smaller point game(s) learning how the army works as you build up and collect the other parts to form up Devastator list.

Epic Tyranids Vs. (Dark) Eldar

Brother Captain James shoveling out the gaunts....

So this past Sunday was the Epic Tyranids Vs. (Dark) Eldar mega battle at the comic shop with yours truly and Brother Captain James piloting Tyranids and UltraBob and ‘Lil Joey fielding Eldar and Dark Eldar- kin reunited vs. a common enemy. Mission was annihilate with a bonus objective of planting a token in your opponent’s deployment zone for eight more victory points. You can see what I was running in the pictures with the green ‘nids and what BC James was running, and the battle went like this in a nutshell.

Tyranids taking first turn and running like mad with the Dark Eldar and Eldar smug in their firepower so they didn’t try to seize. Mistake. We ate a lot of losses on the way in but still hit the lines with critical mass- my two ‘fex pods came in and performed flawlessly. Hive guard opened up a raider dumping the Duke and his guys which then got venom cannoned and bio-plasmaed to death taking out the unit on the first ‘fex and the second fex exploding a raider. Zopes in the pod were the epic lolz of the game- landing dead on right in front of a fire prism- failing one psychic test due to runes of warding, passing the other two, hitting, penetrating, and then rolling two “1”’s for both penetration hits. Turns three, four, and five were brutal for both sides, but in the end the twin linked poisoned spam of the DE and brightlance spam was what one the day. When the last Tyranid went down at the bottom of six, BC James and I were wiped off the table along only a rag tag of Eldar guardians left, a DE raider, and an empty venom. A crazy four hours of rolling dice. BC James was pretty deflated getting stomped, but the game itself was great allowing me to do some more ‘nid research, try out some ideas, and further confirm what is “solid” for Tyranids in 5th- all to further support my tournament list.

So Fritz, share a bit of what you learned?

Of course…

One is nothing, three is something is the first thing.

BC James spend the week modeling up a custom t-fex with forgeworld parts for the game, put it out turn one, shot the rupture cannon, missed both shots, and then got lanced to death next turn and died. When a model is going to be a threat to your opponent, you need to make it a threat. One unit/model any list can deal with, three becomes a problem- three also allows you to deal some damage to your opponent delivered by said models before they get taken out. What would three t-fexes have done? Space Marine players, compare the t-fex to rifleman dreads- one compared to three? Grey Knights are only going to make this worse to face. So, bring three or don’t bother in 99% of the cases.

Single synapse models suck, you need embedded synapse with Tyranids. Sure the tervigon is a synapse point, same with a lone hive tyrant (no guard), but there is no hiding these guys and they will die. Compare to a prime or even the parasite that can attach to a unit, take wounds on the unit, and then jump ship. Forward synapse is vital when you crash the lines so you can maintain momentum.

Gaunt spewing tervigons are nice, but have a backup plan when they constipate on turn one… Mlocs are just a disappointment, they aren’t even the poor man’s trygon. They come up, maybe clip a few guys who go to ground or get terrain cover saves, and then the Mloc is in the back ranks of your opponent, but then what? Pathetic attacks, no scything talons?

Furious charge poisoned gaunts can be brutal, wiping out entire units on the charge, but they need a dedicated delivery system, and 100% have to be the focus of your army to work. If you want to go that way get out of the mindset if you are in one, that gaunts are expendable cover save screens, build the rest of your army to keep the opponent busy while your h-gaunts make the end run, so when they hit, they hit in numbers and force. With scything talons you can get away with not having preferred enemy, but if you do have it via old adversary it gets insane, expect lots of opponent whining and bitching. I go first, rerolling, hits and wounds, here is sixty attacks….

More food for thought on my prime also and his role in the list, but we’ll talk about that when I finish up my post on warriors.

Setup, turn one. T-fex is the critter on the unpainted base. Mlocs burrow turn one, everybody else forward!

H-gaunts hit the lines, pod is from the zope delivery, Hive Tyrant is rocking old advesary, allowing me to reroll everything on the charge, wounding Eldar and DE on a 3+- took out two units on the charge, but my list was built around delivering two massive groups right into my opponent...

'Fexes and pods on the right, took out the Duke's ride, entourage, and a second raider before turning back to attack a wave serpent that zipped behind us. Lone shrike is part of a screening unit that epic failed- took a lot of hits from the fire prism and other DE shots forcing me to keep going to ground to try and save them from not being a kill point.

40K Road Trip: Hobby Town USA

So Jawaballs and I have been talking about taking some 40K road trips for some time now- basically visiting any and all 40K gaming stores one to two hours out from where both live, in the NY and lower CT area.

Things lined up for this Friday so we decided to take a trip up to Hobby Town USA which hosts the Ordo Ineptus 40K club. Jawa of course brought his Blood Angels, I was rolling with Tyranids, and Brother Captian James also came along with his Ultramarines. They have open 40K gaming on Monday and Friday nights and the plan was to just show up and play all casual and regular, just three dudes walking in to play some 40K.

Jawaballs looks like Jawaballs, and as soon as he starts laughing you know who he is. Myself, you could say I was in disquise since I'm rocking a beard- BC James and I have a bet to see who can grow the most epic beard, necks not included.

We get to Hobby Town USA at around five thiry after a stop at Arbys and it is in a nice strip mall with plently of parking. Walking to the store you really are blown away by all the hobby stuff. Models, terrain, trains, RC planes, cars, and boats. On the one hand this was really cool to see so much gear, on the other, quite bad for yours truly since I've been thinking about getting back into RC cars despite being banned by my wife. My argument that I was already told “no” to the motorcycle means RC can't be vetoed also.

Guys back me up...

In the back of the store on both sides were some well laid out tables with terrain and stools to sit on- stools, this is a big thing, having a place to sit while you play. Very nice. We settled in to play and the store manager, who's name I already forgot, sorry, bad with names, introdued himself, pointed out the bathroom, where drinks were sold in the store, etc. Really friendly and made you feel welcome. The guys gaming and hanging out from the OI club were likewise friendly and passionate about 40K. Definely a nice vibe from the store, club, and left at the end of the nite with that fun feeling, but enough of that, time for the battle report:

Tyranids Vs. Space Wolves. 1750 points, 4 objectives, 12” in deployment.

My list: 1 Prime 3 Hive Guard 3 Venomthropes 4 Warriors 2 X 10 'Stealers + Broodlord 10 Termagaunts 1 Tervigon 3 Trygons

My Opponent: 2 Rune Priests 1 Land Raider + Maxed Blood Claws & Priest Dude 2 Rhinos + Blood Claws 3 Lone Wolves TT/SS Terminator Armor X 2, Wolf Claws X 1 2 Longfang Groups W/ Las + Missile Spam

We both place two objectives- he places one on the far left, and one kind of center. I place my two one on the right and the second center. Right away my plan is to give up the objective on the far left, focus my entire army on the cluster of three- taking three at best, or taking two and contesting one at worst. Space Wolves take first turn and deploy out, land raider in the center, long fangs on the far right and far left, rhino on each side of the land raider, and the three lone wolfs right, left, and center. I deploy castled up to the right, pushing the tervigon and trygons backed by warriors, venoms, and the guard. Genestealers can't infiltrate due to two chosers of the slain in the center of the board pushing them back.

I'm not outflanking them since there are no castled assetts so they go down to the left of the trygons. I try to sieze first turn but fail. Turn one has the trygons taking a wound, along with the broodlords and three stealers. Not bad thanks to cover and the 5+ on the big guys from the venoms. I start the push forward with everybody and shoot the first rhino and shake it. Tun two has jaws going off on two Trygons thanks to a bad run roll keeping them clustered and I breathe a sigh of relief not losing them. Land raider moves up shooting into the first stealer block killing a few. Tervigons starts farming gaunts who go behind the stealers.

Land raider moves up, gets the claws out, fires some bolters killing the first stealer group, I try to pull enough off but am still in assault range. I figure I will get assaulted and wiped out on the charge, then I'll counter by shooting two groups of gaunts into them and charging with the second stealer group and a trygon. Turn out they will just clip area terrain near the center thanks to their large unit size and they fail to reach me on the terrain test. Now I don't have to divert my trygon and can hit them with two full stealer squads or which I bust in with eleven rends on five armor saves on the charge. Huzzah!

Ultimately they hold as a lone wolf then piles in. Shooting has my trygons eating more krak and las and one goes down from Jaws- the one with no wounds of course! Remove from play, don't collect $200. Sad face. I'm now in contact range as one trygon charges the BC sqaud with the rune priest after they got out of the rhino for jaws and it puts the hurt on them as the second lone wolf then piles in next turn- tying me up as the trygon splats the blood claws and causes the rune priest to run, but eventually goes down from the lone wolf. The second trygon splats the center lone wolf and then next turn with the tervigon run up and punch the land raider destroying it, before finally going down to missile and las spam.

The stealers battle it out with the other lone wolf losing as I pile in the tervigon and he dies also. Finally the remainig two lone wolfs go down to mass warrior, hive guard, and gaunt fire, but just barely, 2+/3+ with FNP is really durable when you aren't getting hit with AP 1 / 2 weapons.

Eventually I finish off the long fangs to the right with my warriors and hive guard which are now down to just one as the warriors push for the top right objective. Gaunts hold the other two as the remainig blood claw rhino holds the one on the left backed by the long fangs on the left. Game ends on turn six with Space Wolves holding one objective, and the Tyranids holding two. Observations? I had a huge advantage in deployment with how my opponent spread out long to cover the table- would have been better clustering up in the cente rand then react/move turn one based on my deployment.

Going second, while eating a free turn of shoting before I could move means I could castle and focus all my army on his, delaying the third lone wolf and lesseing the second rhino and blood claws and left long fang pack through the game- they were will in range, but I was getting a 4+ cover save which is huge. Objectiev clustering also helped me as I planned to focus on just what was needed to win. Choser hurt me bad not letting me infiltrate with the stealers as a screen to keep the wolves busy while my trygons ran up. Running side by side with the trygons lessened their punch, both units- I almost didn't have enough momentum to strip away and break the wolves core so my gaunts could just sit there playing hold the objective solidified by warriors and the prime.

If that final lone wolf wasn't stopped he would have cleaved through the gaunts and it would have been a disaster. Long fangs did what they do, rune priests with jaws just suck for Tyranids, and the lone wolves were the super MVP's of the night slaying and slaying away, they were like little Mepheston JR.'s- being Space Marines I'm really surprised GW only limited them to three.

Beers and burgers after, and all in all a great hobby night. Will definelty be back at some point and if you are in the Brookfield CT area check out Hobby Town and the OI club-

Links Below:

Upcoming EPIC Battle

So in-between working on my bard in DDO and painting up some Grey Knights I grouping my Tyranids out for an upcoming big game grudge match. Brother Captain James is teaming up with me vs. UltraBob and Lil’ Joey who are running Dark Eldar and Eldar respectively. The backstory is this…. DE and Eldar feuding on a maiden world, settling an old score, when all of a sudden the Tyranids make planet fall and attack. 1750 points each side, mission TBD on the day by Bishop at the comic store.

I won’t say James and I are writing out list for the day…well actually we are…

Not knowing the mission isn’t much of a problem based on what I’ve learned playing against DE- you have to target and take them out by turn three. Forget about trying to capture objectives, hold stuff, etc. Target and take them out. Eldar aren’t as bad, but then we have to contend with their psychic support and I expect two farseers to be slinging around doom and guide. So what’s the plan? James is commanding the purple ‘nids and I’m commanding the green ones. Combined we have just over 370 models to pick from and field covering everything in the codex except harpies. Heck, we could even throw down some biovores is needed! LOL! So what am I thinking? Two 1750 point armies on a standard table is going to restrict movement somewhat, and now BC James and I need to shut it down. A carpet of little bugs scuttling forward like blobs, a big mass, blocking out where to move. Get the little guys in as fodder and tie up the Eldar, then hit them with a second wave of big scary bugs. As a core here is what I’m thinking: 3 X 10 Stealers 3 X 20 Hormagaunts W/ Glands + Poison- deadly against DE and Eldar alike 1 Winged Tyrant 5-8 Shrikes- Still playing around with the unit size. Rippers! Two big masses with wings and adrenals. Infiltrate the stealers into terrain to restrict movement, run the tyrant and shrikes as a synapse block behind the gaunts. Run run run!

Also thrown in there is DOM in a pod, and James is running him also- hey we are two different hive fleets!

Another option is to have James run up the center in a huge mass as the push point for Null Deployment, and then build my entire army as pods and outflankers as the Null Deployment wings- ND spread over two entire armies, how is that for "synapse". Battle reports, pics, and a vid to follow after the matchup! So here is the question for my readers- if you could pull from almost anything in the Tyranid codex what would you field/do vs. DE and Eldar?

Gaunts! Attack!

I think I have around sixty or so gaunts, but want/need to bring that number up to one hundred? Fritz always rolls like a champ, so just what is the average maximum number two Tervigons can pump out over six turns? Gaunts are the Tyranid equivalent to bolter rounds and I don’t want run out of them in a tournament. Anybody have some unpainted gaunts of any model generation for sale/trade?

Last night was an assembly line to bring the swarm of gaunts up to the paint and detail quality of the other bugs in the army- previously they were just painted two colors, so this time around I picked out the tongues and weapon hoses (?) with red ink, and did the hooves and teeth in yellow with some blending. Final pass tonight will be to do all the ribbing in the guns green.

(Sorry, iPhone pic...)

I’ve got a few different poses and some bodies made out of h-gaunts for variety but I want something a little more to break up the masses and could use some community help on this idea. You all know the modeling bits that you stick on Space Marine bolters showing they are shooting- muzzle flash and gas discharge and all. Any ideas for a Tyranid bio-munitions spitting out of the gun? I want to model a dozen or so with something like that.

40K Battle Report: Death Guard Vs. Tyranids

Another solid day of 40K gaming at Comic Book Heaven with the Tyranids once again taking to the table vs. Death Guard. Rolling for mission it was again capture and control. Playing at 1850 points there was a little more wiggle room to throw in some broodlords and other upgrades to try out on the big bugs. Tactics are quickly evolving into a standard template for this mission which looks like something like this.

Deployment was table quarters which has the ‘stealers going into outflank mode- now the only time that I do it. Trygons usually run up the table but in this case with oblit and mass havoc fire, and lots of plasma wielding plague marines I decided to deepstrike them. The ‘stealers and trygons are there to target and remove my opponent’s troop choices from his objective making sure he can’t claim it.

Second group of warriors, termagunats, venoms and hive guard are to advance, demech, and weaken my opponent. Third group of gaunts and the tervigon are to then secure my objective and tarpit the hell out of anything trying to come in. Gaunts in cover backed by venoms are actually really hard to dig out- you actually don’t want to assault them and have to deal with dangerous terrain tests and defensive grenades.

In truth the center building on the table (I didn’t set up the terrain honestly!) helped win the game. Got to advance mid field without taking and shots while the toothpicks fired from the hive guard could see and hit the incoming rhinos.

Game ended with no objectives for the Death Guard and two for the Tyranids.

Warriros, hive guard, and gaunts advance to the center lead by the prime. LOS blocking building FTW!

Terminators and oblits come down, time to start stalling them...

Trygons and 'stealers secure their mission of killing troop choices....


'Stealers charge to think the ranks before dying, then it is all about venom backed gaunts as fast as my tervigon can poop them out- which he (it?) did all the way till turn six! "I need forty more gaunts STAT!" ~Fritz