Battle Report – First look at Tyranids 6th ed


All set up for our regular monthly game day and due to several factors outside our control, we weren’t able to assemble quorum for our last episode of the campaign. We did have enough players for 2x games of 40k, so I decided to set my gracious opponent Craig up with 1500 points of Death Guard Chaos Space Marines, and I’d try my hand at my first game with the 6th Edition Tyranids codex. It was a great game and we had a lot of fun. Check out the battle report below to see how they faired!

You’ll have to forgive me a little bit for a fair amount of unpainted army. I do have close to 3000 points of painted Tyranids from my time playing them in 5th Edition (they were my first army when getting back into the hobby nearly 4 years ago, after a 17-year haitus when I first played it in the early to mid 90’s back in 2nd edition). Tyranids, since that time way back when, was always my first and favorite army. I got into Space Marines and Orks first with the 2nd Edition starter box (who remembers that one?!!?), but I quickly moved into other armies and found that collecting and painting Tyranids was my absolute favorite. When I got the 6th Edition codex recently, I had some initial disappointment (as the book seemed very similar the 5th Ed one), but decided to let the community emotion die down a bit and let cooler heads prevail before I full-on judged them out of contention for my hobby time in 6th. The codex has definitely grown on me, and as I’ve been building and painting more I find myself drawn to playing them more too. What a perfect opportunity to take them out for a spin and see how they peform.

So I made two quick lists, both 1500 points, Nurgle vs. Nids, and we decided to battle it out to see how they did.

The Setting…

The table was set up for our 5th installment of the Siege of Thrax campaign, but as aforementioned, we didn’t do that for lack of quorum of players. Next time! But we took the opportunity to use the beautifully set up table. The concept was that the last and final mission of that campaign was to have one side defend the Zone Mortalis, and one side assault the ZM – the idea maybe was to destroy some vital power station or transmitter to forge the assault into the underhive. In our Tyranids vs. Nurgle scenario, we decided to keep the board, and just roll random mission and deployment, etc.

The armies were as follows:

Nurgle CSM:
  • [HQ]    1x Chaos Lord w/ Power Armor, Plasma Pistol, Power Fist, Sigil, MoN
  • [HQ]    1x Chas Sorcerer w/ Power Armor, Bolt Pistol, Force Sword, Sigil, MoN
  • [TR]    7x Plague Marines w/ 2x Plasma gun, Champ w/ Fist & Combi-plas, Rhino w/ Havoc
  • [TR]    7x Plague Marines w/ 2x Plasma gun, Champ w/ Fist & Combi-plas, Rhino w/ Havoc
  • [TR]    7x Plague Marines w/ 2x Plasma gun, Champ w/ Fist & Combi-plas, Rhino w/ Havoc
  • [TR]    30x Chaos Cultists w/ autoguns and 2x Heavy Stubbers
  • [HS]    1x Predator w/ Tri-las
Tyranids – Hive Fleet Damocles
  • [HQ]    1x Hive Tyrant, Wings, 2x BL Devourers, Dominion, Catalyst
  • [HQ]    1x Tyranid Prime, BS/LW, Deathspitter
  • [EL]    2x Zoanthropes, Warp Blast & Paroxysm
  • [EL]    2x Hive Guard, Impaler Cannons
  • [EL]    3x Venomthropes
  • [TR]    20x Hormaguants w/ Toxin Sacs
  • [TR]    20x Termagants w/ Fleshborers
  • [TR]    20x Termagants w/ Fleshborers
  • [TR]    3x Tyranid Warriors w/ 1x Barbed Strangler
  • [HS]    1x Carnifex w/ 2x pairs scything talons
  • [HS]    1x Trygon

The Scenario…

We rolled scenario and got Relic (I’ve never actually played this one before). Deployment was hammer and anvil. Craig won the roll to go first and elected to go first. He deployed on the open table side with his Nurgle Chaos Space Marines and I deployed on the other side in the Zone Mortalis Labyrinth.

The Battle Unfolds…

Nurgle deployment. Pretty easy – 3x Rhinos and a Predator – pretty quick deployment.

Predator up on the hill.

Rhino lurking next to a ruin, near the Cultists who were holing up in the ruin.

Overall Chaos deployment.

The Tyranids deploy in the Zone Mortalis side of the battlefield. You can already see the impending traffic jam.

Closer up on nid deployment. I had a plan going in, a set of troops were going to come out one exit of the ZM, and one set of troops (termagants) were going to rush the Relic (the yellow card board marker square in the center of the table), benefitting from the coversave offered by the ZM and the Venomthropes close by.

Overall deployment. Each side going out the ZM had benefit of some solid synapse on either side. Trygon by the way was kept in reserves.

Another close up shot of the deployment.

View from the back of deployment zone. Idea was the Hive Tyrant was going to rush out the ruins and wreck face, followed in support by gaunts, Zoeys, venomthropes, carnifex, and Tyranid prime bringing up the rear as anchor synapse support.

View from the back of table and a survey of battle field before turn 1.

Same but different angle. More close-ups of deployment follow.

Top of turn 1. Craig moves his Predator in closer and his Rhinos up toward the relic.

Some more close ups of the armies as Craig positions his vehicles.

The cultists (who get MVP in this game oddly enough) open fire on the hormagaunts, killing 2. The Tri-las predator opens fire on the opening on the other side of the ZM, killing 2x termigants.

Bottom of turn 1. Hive Tyrant bursts out of the ZM, followed closely by the termigants. HT casts Catalyst on the termigants, giving them Feel No Pain this turn. HT fires Twin-linked devourers with Brainleach worms at the Rhino in front of it, glancing it to death and with 1 penetrating hit and explodes it! Plague Marines pile out and are unharmed by the explosion. Relic is there in center of table (yellow square) and is the target for the termigants next turn, if they can get there.

Hormagaunts run up to try to get to the relic from the others side. Rolled really nicely on my run move, 6 plus the hormagaunt +3″ for a 9″ run.

Hive guard fire ineffectually at the cultists, might have killed 2 I think.

Cultists having taken a few casualties but hanging tough.

Top of Turn 2. Craig fires the tri-las predator at the flying hive tyrant, does not successfully hit the flier. The Plague Marines wisely opt to fire on the troops termigants, as they are the only types of models that can pick up the 3 victory point relic. The rapid-firing Plague Marines mow down 10 of the 20 termigants, even after Feel No Pain saves. Ouch! The cultists fire on the hormaguants on the other side of the board, killing a few. Other Rhinos move up, particularly one in center board, and is in range to threaten the relic. He opts to stay in his metal can, away from the hungry talons of the hive. Pretty wise.

Termigants, Hormagaunts, Hive Guard, all move up. Horms keep running toward relic. Hive Guard again fire at cultists, only hit twice. Hive Guard not earning their keep! Termigants move up but not really in effective range with their fleshborers yet.

Surprise! Guess who arrives from reserves! Your friendly neighborhood Trygon! He would like a word with your cultists…

Peek a boo!

Trygon fires his bio-electric pulse at the cultists, killing a few.

On the other side of the board, all units move up. Venomthropes sill providing cover save for gaunts. Zoanthropes do Warp Blast against Rhino, putting a hull point on it and immobilizing it.

Termigants fire their fleshborers at the Plague Marines, to no effect.

Hive Tyrant pivots and flies over the Predator. He fires his Twin-Linked devourers at it and glances it to death, turning it into a wreck.

Another shot of the Trygon, having fired it’s bio-electric pulse at the cultists.

The termigants, spurred on by the voracious appetite of the hive mind, and ignoring their instincts to not devour spoiled food, assault the Plague Marines. This turned out to be a mistake but it wasn’t debilitating. Having played Plague Marines so many times, you forget how tough they are to bring down in any event. Note to self – Plague Marines are hard as nails! 10 termigants don’t really have much of a chance against Plague Marines. But, the strategy was, keep them tied up so they cant rapid-fire you to death and threaten other troops coming in (horms) to steal the relic.

Hormagaunts run up and grab the relic!

Skipping to bottom of turn 3 – forgot to take pictures during Craig’s top of turn 3. He largely did shooting and mowed down more hormagaunts & termigants. His Plague Marines piled out of his central Rhino to threaten/grab the relic from the Hormagaunts! Units on this side of board move up and start shifting towards the relic in support of the hormagants. Trygon is OUT of synapse range, but passes Instinctive Behavoir test. I move him up and closer to relic and support. Hive Guard press forward and fire at a Rhino, and explode it!

Other side of the board, units are now fully out of the Zone Mortalis and are within striking distance of the Plague Marines. Hormagaunts are not fairing well in close combat after being charged at top of turn 3 by Plague Marines.

The slow grind against the termigants continues on the other side of board. Hive Tyrant swoops down and gets ready to support the termigants by charging the unit of engaged Plague Marines.

Venomthropes, Zoanthropes, Carnifex, and Warrior Prime all move up to get within striking distance and be ready to help support snatching back the relic.

Venomthropes also decide to charge in and support the termigants and Hive Tyrant in the melee against the Plague Marines.

The Carnifex fails it’s charge against the Rhino! Sadness!

The Trygon joins the fun in the center melee against the hormagaunts. He is the edge needed to start whittling down Plague Marines on that front. He kills 2 in the ensuing melee.

Termigants moving up and getting into position to sieze the relic in case the hormgaunts fall.

Top of turn 4. Plague Marines in central Rhino get out of their immobilized ride and lay down some bad-ass suppressive fire on those lousy Zoanthropes. This unit has the Chaos Lord in it.

Another shot of the Plague Marines getting out of their ride and throwing down on the Zoeys. The torrential hail of fire brings one of the Zoanthropes down.

Bottom of turn 4. Things really start to get ugly. The carnifex charges in but takes 2 wounds to rapid-firing plasma guns overwatch fire! OUCH! The melee ensues. Carnifex hammer of wrath attacks do nothing. Tyranid Prime charged in too. He goes first with ridiculous initiative with lash whip. Kills 3 Plague Marines. Carnifex kills one on his initiative step. The Lord and the Champ, both with fists, attack the Carnifex. 5x power fist hits are sad times for Carnifex with 2 wounds remaining. Carnifex dies. Carnifex sad.

Melee struggle with gaunts, venoms, Hive tyrant, and Plague Marine squad continues. Down to the last plague Marine at end of combat. All termigants are dead and 1 Venomthrope lost it’s life to a champ with power fist.

Bottom of Turn 4. Tyranid Prime continues to fight the Plague Marines. I think he killed 1 Plague Marine this turn.

The battle between venoms, hive tyrant, and plague marine rages on… no wounds dealt this time.

Hive guard fire ineffectually at the cultists again. I think they might have killed a few.

Tyranid Warriors, now in range of the cultists, fire. Devourers do nothing. Barbed strangler fires and kills several under that big 5″ blast marker!

Top of 5 – cultists move up in hopes of getting in range of gants holding onto relic. Funnily enough, in last turn, the last two plague marines and sorcerer were killed by the Trygon. The cultists open fire on the now un-engaged hormagaunts, killing them both! The relic is now unclaimed!

Tyranid Prime against the Chaos Lord and the Plague Champ. Last turn he took a wound. This turn, the Prime did a wound to the Lord, but the combined power fists attacks of the two crushed the towering Tyranid Prime and killed him.

Bottom of turn 5. The Trygon charges in and kills the power fist champ Plague Marine, and does a single wound to the Chaos Lord.

The Hive Tyrant finally finishes the last of the Plague Marines and consolidates away, closer to the relic. The termigants run up and sieze the relic!

End of the game shot. Bottom of Turn 5, all combats fought. Termigants have the relic in hand. We roll for end of game, and Craig rolls a 1 – game is over!

Let’s see how we did.

Final result was 8-4 win for Tyranids.
Tyranids had Relic (3), First Blood (1), and 3 VP’s of units destroyed.
Chaos Space Marines had 4 VP’s of units destroyed.
No one got Line Breaker or Slay the Warlord.

In essence, this being my first game playing Tyranids, I thought they performed well. One rule I forgot (and always forget) is that Craig’s Chaos Space Marines characters always have to challenge. Not sure how that would have worked out differently, but it might have. I always have to remember that, even when I’m playing Chaos. Also, I think one thing that was definitely in the favor of Tyranids in this game was the deployment and the line-of-sight cover that the ZM afforded. He couldn’t get an early bead on my guys in the early game, which left my forces largely intact throughout the beginning and mid-game. This made the Tyranid hammer blow at pretty much full force when I was within striking distance.

Now on to the units and how they did:

What I liked: The Hive Tyrant was a complete beast, I liked him a lot. I really like how well overall the termigants performed. One thing I wonder about being a mistake was was charging my termigants into the Plague Marines. In the end it wasn’t a mistake, as it tied up a brutally hard rapid-fire unit, which probably saved my bacon. I do have to remember to use my psychic powers all the time, as casting catalyst on gaunts was highly effective in keeping their staying power turn over turn. The venomthropes were nice, I will definitely make them a regular in my list. The occasional cover save I got in this specific game was nice, and I can see the utility in general in more generic missions. They did pretty reasonably in close combat too. I was also really happy with the Tyranid Warriors. They never felt a lot of pressure in this game, so that might be part of why I’m happy (you keep hearing how bad / unsurvivable they are, and I can resonate with that as they had the same challenge in 5th), but keeping them in back where they’re less vulnerable and where they can provide cheap synapse on a non-primary flank was key to keeping my little bugs happy. And, when the Warriors popped out of the ZM and were able to get line of sight on the cultists, the Barbed Strangler realy showed it’s quality. The Carnifex was good, but didn’t show up too well as it hit a hard unit and had the unfortunate displeasure of being on the receiving end of rapid fire plasma and 5x Powerfist hits. So in some way, it totally earned its points as it absorbed a tremendous amount of hate, which freed up others to effectively do their jobs. I’ve never really used termigants in 5th (hence all the unpainted termigants). I have to say partnered with a psyker who can drop catalyst on them is a nice little treat. I’m looking forward to having devilgaunts who can lay down a storm of fire and see how that performs. Zoanthropes did well, or well enough – I treated them like durable synapse and had only that expectation of them, and so was not disappointed.

What I didn’t like: I have to say I was pretty unimpressed with the Hive Guard. To be sure, they lacked a significant number of worthy targets, but that drop of 1 point of ballistic skill really made a huge difference in their hitting power.

Overall it was a great game and we had a lot of fun playing. Thank you to my gracious opponent Craig for letting me re-remember the rules for my favorite little bugs army. More games for Hive Fleet Damocles are in my future for sure!

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