Back in February, when we were allowed to travel across the country to play toy soldiers, I went to visit Liam from Moarhammer and Deployment Zone to film a battle report. I took the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Goliath against his Saim Hann Eldar in a 2000 point custom matched play mission. It was a lot of fun, and good to complete the set after playing Winters a couple of times.
I was going to just put up a blog post with a link to the battle report for completeness, but I thought most people reading this will either not have paid for access to DZTV or will have already seen the battle report there anyway, so I'm going to add a bit of my thoughts from the game. Specifically about the Blood of Baal Psychic Awakening book, and how it worked out for me.
I'll not post my entire list here, but I did use a good chunk of the content. I picked a monster heavy list and use a custom hive fleet with the Prey-sight and Metamorphic Regrowth traits which granted +1 to hit in melee for monsters after charging, being charged or heroic intervention, and all models regenerating a single lost wound at the start of each of my turns. I took two of the relics (the Arachnacyte Gland on a Trygon Prime and Pathogenesis on an all devourer hive tyrant) and two Adaptive Physiologies (Dermic Symbiosis on a Tyrannofex and Accelerated Digestion on a Haruspex). Overall I was pretty pleased with them, though (minor spoiler alert:) the Haruspex didn't do a lot.
I don't think the book suddenly makes Tyranids top tier by any means, (it's been out a while and we've not seen the Tyranid meta yet...) but it definitely adds some fun and I think powerful options. Choose your own Hive Fleet is a bit... specific? There are a lot of options but most of them will only work for very specific builds, and the generic ones are not as strong as, say, Kraken. That said, the ones I picked fit my army very well and are undeniably strong for taking lots of monsters and multi-wound models. Trygons suddenly hitting on 2s, rerolling 1s were quite terrifying, and it was nice getting the odd wound back, even on Warriors and Zoanthropes.
I do think the relics and Adaptive Physiologies will see some use in competitive lists though, as well as in fun and casual ones. The Resonance Barb stands out (+1 to cast and deny, cast an extra power) and has seen use on several battle reports I've seen. The two I took are probably a bit more specialised, but definitely effective. The Arachnacyte Gland (3D6 charge, drop the lowest) makes a Trygon Prime or melee Hive Tyrant a more viable prospect, and Pathogenesis (6 inch extra range, reroll a single hit and wound for shooting) makes the all devourer Tyrant build even more scary with a larger threat range.
Dermic Symbiosis seems the stand out Adaptive Physiology (5+ invulnerable and count double wounds for damage bracket). I definitely could see it going on the Scythed Hierodule to make it tougher to deal with, especially if sitting next to a Malanthrope on turn one, then charging off with a +1 to hit and regenerating a wound every turn. I didn't use any of the infantry ones, but I think they definitely have potential as well, I've been especially looking at Adrenal Webs (2d6 consolidation) for a big mob of gargoyles perhaps, flapping over and tying up an entire gun line.
In conclusion, it's not a huge power boost, but it has got me more excited to play with the Nids again. Just a shame I can't right now!