Friday, 17 January 2014

Post-release Tyranid ramblings

Hi folks,

With exams out of the way for a few months I can now get back to hobbying. Phew. My Tyranids are coming along slowly but surely to get them to tabletop standard. Before they're done though I thought I would share some superficial thoughts on the new codex.

General hobby thoughts

As an aside I thought I would voice this here. As anyone who has looked at my blogs can tell I have a huge enthusiasm for the hobby and more often than not my ambitions outweigh ability, mainly from a sheer volume perspective. Lately, however, I have found that I don't have the same level of enthusiasm for the hobby that I used to. White Dwarf is regularly disappointing (TBH I may drop my subscription with the new format), coded releases despite being more regular tend to be very hit and miss and the prices are somewhat ridiculous thesedays for the most part. Having said this, there are some positive signs of change out there, such as better value on set such as the stormwing and tyranid swarm.

I'm far from at the point of leaving the hobby but I do feel a certain degree of apathy thesedays, as if I'm going through the motions through habit rather than enjoying things for the same reasons I used to. Not having the same sort of budget for the hobby is also somewhat restrictive, especially with prices thesedays. For example, my initial impression was to get a tyranid swarm and one of each new box to expand my Tyranids to a decent sized horde. After a day or two though, I decided I simply couldn't be bothered with assembling any tyranids or blowing a few months worth of budget on them and so simply bought codex, cards and a harpy in the end. I have a few items on a wishlist, namely imperial armour volume 2 and some parts to finish my Luna Wolves, but other than that and any exceptional new releases my enthusiasm for spending ££ on GW has all but waned.

Tyranid models

Models are, as always, great. I only got the Harpy/Crone but think all the releases were good ones. A very different line up to what I would have predicted, as obviously there are notable absences both in terms of units that didn't get updates from finecast and units that have been omitted from the codex altogether. The price points for new releases are somewhat silly thesedays though and I can't help but wonder if we would have been better off with across the board price rises annually (but sensible ones) with new releases being more sensibly priced. Look out for my tutorial on magnetising a Harpy/Crone soon!

Tyranid codex

Beautiful cover and artwork throughout as has come to be expected with the new generation books. A lot of recycled material throughout, however. Although this is nothing new, this book did feel to me more of a sprucing up of the previous book than an entirely different animal. It does, however, mark the halfway mark to having all the 6th edition codexes in hardback format. (not including sisters of course) I have skimmed through it a couple of times now but, TBH, found it wanting and somewhat dull for the most part. I wonder if this is my general feelings on the hobby at the moment leaking in but, in honesty, remember thinking much th same about the Daemon book when it was released. Though granted that book at least had a host of new rules to get your head around.

Tyranid rules

Hmm, where to begin. The rules seem to have changed very little IMO. A few changes to the major elements of the army wide rules (instinctive behaviour mostly) and some points adjustment stand out as being the major changes. Also the new units make an appearance of course. Two things that irk me are as follows; what they removed and what they didn't change. Losing units from a codex is, as far as I know, not something we have had thus far in 6th edition. The main reason Tyranids suffered with this is down the fact they come from an era of codexes where the units were increased in number but there were no corresponding models for them. I for one am sad to see the parasite, doom, spore pod and Ymargls go as I think they added flavour to the book and, with some rule and point adjustments, could have been worthy inclusions for the new book.

On to what hasn't changed and the main elements that stand out to me are genestealers and pyrovores. Now these chappies didn't see a lot of popularity or play in the past year. Genestealers got hit bad by the no assaulting from reserve rules introduced in 6th and pyrovores have, well, always been pretty bad. A few slight adjustments here could have made all the difference IMO. Giving genestealers stealth for example would have upped their durability, especially with a venomthrope nearby. Giving torrent to pyrovores would have made them more viable in the midrange shooting catergory, or perhaps even making their template weapon rending. Just something to take it from unappealing to worth considering. A missed opportunity on both counts which, TBH, reeks of poor insight into the army on the part of the design team.

New Units

Up til now most of this post has been rather negative I will admit. I make no apologies for this, however, as although this is a minor army for me one of my friends takes great enthusiasm in his Tyranids and I can't help but feel disappointed for him. He has continued to play and very often lost with nids over the past few years and I had hoped that for him and other nid players this codex would offer a new lease of life. Well, it doesn't seem to have lived up to that on the surface but at least they have gotten some new toys to play with!

Hive/Tyrant guard - access to some new fun weapons which should make them more versatile.

Harpy - not much change aside from points but great model

Crone - a bit of a confusing role for the old crone - on the face of it she's an AA flyer, equally good at taking out light armoured ground vehicles, but also with a template for anti-infantry. So, is she a jack of all trades and master of none? I have to say first time out she performed admirably taking out a stormraven and so first impressions were good at least. Personally I wish the two FMCs had more distinct roles/armaments though.

Haruspex - as a long-time epic fan I love the inclusion of updated epic models in the army. Haruspex seems like a fun beasty with some unique rules to go with it. A nice addition.

Exocrine - likewise with the exocrine, it fulfils a niche otherwise unoccupied and thus gets the thumbs up both from nostalgia and rules perspectives.


Well, it could have been better, but could have been worse. There are certainly some nice elements in there, specifically the new units. I think I will echo what some others have said in my overall assessment of the book with one word - bland. It just didn't excite me like I hoped it would which is sad really and makes me feel for die-hard nid players who may have felt the same. However, bland book still beats no book and with nids done and dusted we're one step closer to having 6th edition completed. Roll on Imperial Guard.

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