Codex: Tyranids Preview: Commanding Your Swarm

Back in the olden days, Tyranids used to only have a single HQ: the Hive Tyrant. While this alpha-predator is still one of the most powerful and popular HQ choices for Tyranids players, with the new codex, you’ll be spoilt for choice on how to command your swarm. With special characters, new options, and a range of Warlord Traits and Bio-artefacts, the HQ slot for the Tyranids is just as flexible and adaptable as you’d expect from this intergalactic menace.

The special characters of most armies are tied to specific Regiments, Chapters, or Legions. Tyranids characters, however, do not represent storied or singular heroes from history but particularly distinct bio-organisms employed in every hive fleet. As such, if you’re looking to add the Swarmlord, Red Terror, Deathleaper or Old One Eye to your army, you won’t be restricted by which hive fleet you choose!

If you’re looking for a points-efficient way to fill your HQ slot, the Neurothrope is a great way to do it, now a separate unit rather than an upgrade to the Zoanthropes! Like its incarnation in the Index, the Neurothrope can heal your Zoanthropes by draining the lives of enemies with Smite, but it can now also cast an additional power from the Hive Mind discipline. We’d suggest equipping yours with the brutal Soul Hunger Warlord Trait and the terrifying Psychic Scream power from the updated Hive Mind discipline to punish enemy players who use Psykers, and perhaps hearken back to the good old days of the Doom of Malan’tai, a Zoanthrope character much beloved by older Tyranids commanders.

As if having a massive monster for an HQ wasn’t cool enough, the Hive Tyrant has got even better! Firstly, all Hive Tyrants have had their Psychic Barrier save improved, now offering them a 4+ invulnerable save and making them considerably more durable against high-AP weapons. Combined with the Hyper Adaptive Biology Bio-artefact and the Adaptive Biology Warlord Trait, your Hive Tyrant is going to be exceptionally hard to put down.

It gets better! All Hive Tyrants now have an improved Synapse range of 18”, a Toughness stat of 7 (up from 6), and winged Hive Tyrants can drop in from above like other teleporting and flying units.

We’ve covered a couple of Bio-artefacts above, but these weapons really are worth spotlighting on their own. There are loads of ways to equip your Tyranids characters, but some of the most unusual are the monstrous shooting weapons available to Hive Tyrants, turning these colossal beasts into bio-battle tanks.

Having trouble with Daemons? The balethorn cannon is devastating against the servants of the Dark Gods, cutting right through their invulnerable saves!

Looking to stack up wounds while keeping mobile? The slimer maggot infestation is for you:

Struggling to kill enemy monsters and other high Wounds, high Toughness foes? The miasma cannon is horribly effective:

In short, the new codex allows you unprecedented choice in who leads your army, whether you’re looking for an efficient option to open up another detachment, a legendary bio-beast from the history of the Tyranids or a deadly Hive Tyrant of your own design.

Make sure to come back tomorrow, when we’ll be looking at some of our favourite Stratagems from the new codex – including one that lets you slurp Command Points directly from the brains of your hapless foes!

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