Codex: Tyranids Preview – Units

The new codex sees several Tyranids units gain powerful new abilities and biomorphs or, in the case of the Carnifex, new subspecies. There are myriad tweaks, adjustments and changes designed to diversify the Tyranids and put every unit on an even keel, and we thought five units were worth a special spotlight:

Zoanthropes are the psychic artillery of the Tyranids, and in the new codex, they provide a deadly source of Smite attacks, make a potent linebreaker unit (thanks to Psychic Barrage), and are an always-useful source of synapse.

Zoanthropes positioned near a Neurothrope can re-roll 1s on their Psychic tests, so getting off a key Smite – or a more costly psychic power – is much easier. Larger broods of Zoanthropes also inflict additional mortal wounds when they use Smite; a unit of 6, for instance, deals an additional 3!

Venomthropes are a key part of any Tyranids battleline. As before, they force an enemy’s attacking units within their shrouding spores to suffer -1 to hit, but unlike in the Index, larger broods of Venomthropes can shroud Monsters and other units too! As if that wasn’t useful enough, Venomthropes also deal D3 damage with their shooting and melee attacks, meaning any unit trying to clear out your cover in close combat is in for a very nasty surprise.

Genestealers are already a great Troops option in any Tyranids list; they hit hard, they move fast, and their invulnerable saves are always welcome when hunting characters with high AP. In the new codex, Genestealers can be equipped with new biomorphs to further improve them; acid maw, for instance, allows you to give one Genestealer a powerful close combat weapon, while extended carapaces forces Genestealers to give up Swift and Deadly, but improves their save to a 4+.

Lictors have received a small but significant change that makes them far easier to use in any Tyranids army. Lictors (and Deathleaper!) no longer suffer from Instinctive Behaviour – after all, as vanguard organisms, these creatures are designed to operate away from the rest of the swarm for extended periods of time. Dropping a Lictor in your opponent’s backfield is now a very reliable distraction strategy and a great way to deal with lone ranged units, psykers and support characters.

Finally, as you may have noticed in our White Dwarf preview, the Carnifex is receiving two new variants along with a range of new biomorphs. You’ll be free to choose whether you want to customise a Carnifex of your own from the flexible base unit or pick a more specific battlefield role with the Thornback and Screamer-Killer.

The Thornback is the master of shock-assault. In addition to causing mortal wounds to nearby models when it charges, this beast hits on a 3+ (going up to a 2+ if Old One Eye is around). Both the Thornback and the standard Carnifex can take enhanced senses, a new biomorph that gives them a BS of 3+. What’s more, this increase in Ballistic Skill is accompanied by an improvement to devourers with brainleech worms, which have their shots doubled to Assault 6. In short, the famous “Dakkafex” is back – and particularly powerful in a Hive Fleet Kronos army.

Screamer-Killers, on the other hand, have a more insidious purpose. In addition to deadly scything talons, these guys have a lethal bio-plasmic scream that’ll tear enemies apart at range, while their mere presence forces your foes to add 1 to their Morale tests.

All Carnifexes benefit from a new biomorph called spore cysts, an upgrade that forces enemies to subtract 1 from their hit roll, simulating the effects of a nearby Venomthrope. Of course, if you’d rather give your Carnifexes even more shooting power, the spine banks add 4 more shots at Strength 5.

We’ve only scratched the surface (we haven’t even talked about the Tyrannofex yet!) of the ways in which the new Tyranids codex makes your favourite units more powerful and more fun. Thankfully, the wait for Codex: Tyranids is nearly over, and you’ll be able to pre-order your copy, alongside the new Start Collecting! box, tomorrow.

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