I recently attended another 2000 point 40k tournament at Grim Dice, this time with the new book Tyranids - though I don't think this is likely to be much like any of the meta topping lists at the current time! This was very much a first draft list based on precisely zero games with the new book. Still I was aiming to improve over my past two efforts, both times going 1-2 with Orks.
As before, I'll format this post with the list and some initial plans, followed by a quick summary of each of the games then some final thoughts.
Hive Fleet Behemoth Battalion - 8 CPHQ: Winged Hive Tyrant (2x Monstrous Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands, Onslaught, Paroxysm, The Maw-claws of Thyrax, Monstrous Hunger), Trygon Prime (Adrenal Glands, Biostatic rattle, Monstrous Musculature, Heightened Senses), Broodlord (Unstoppable Onslaught, Catalyst, Direct Guidance, Resonance Barb)Troops: 3x 10 Termagants (Fleshborers), 2x 3 Tyranid Warriors (Scything talons, 2 Deathspitters, Venom cannon), 3 Tyranid Warriors (Boneswords, 2 Deathspitters, Venom cannon)Elites: 3x 10 Genestealers, 3 Zoanthropes (Catalyst)Heavy Support: Tyrannofex (Rupture cannon, Voracious ammunition), Tyrannofex (Rupture cannon, Synaptic Enhancement)
So the plan for this list was to keep it fairly simple without too many different unit choices and having lots of synapse so I wouldn't be too punished if I lost some early. Two of the HQs were kitted out to be combat monsters with lots of attacks, the Tyrant rerolling wounds and getting mortals on 6s, and the Trygon rerolling hits with extra damage on the claws. The Broodlord was a buffing character, planning to use the Behemoth power Unstoppable Onslaught and his warlord trait for +1 to hit and wound on a Genestealer unit each turn. I made a bit of a boo-boo in my list in that technically all the psykers have the Hive fleet power by default, so I could have picked another for the Broodlord with the resonance barb, but I don't think I missed the extra option.
Conveniently this list was exactly 5 Synaptic Imperatives available, and gives up a maximum of 10 points for the three 'kill' secondaries Assassinate, Bring it Down and No Prisoners (unless I respawned some termagants.) Though I had heard that Genestealers were a bit disappointing now, I was fairly happy with the list going in, though I have to admit I didn't really know quite how it would actually work on the table top.
First game was against Ron and his infantry heavy Aeldari. He had quite a lot of small infantry units (including some classic metal Rangers) supported by some wraith constructs and three units of three war walkers (again, some of which were oldhammer metals). No tanks and only a few bikes. Ron was fairly new to at least this edition of 40k and was playing in his first tournament, but it was a new 9th ed Codex so I knew not to be complacent.
The mission was Abandoned Sactuaries: long edges and five objectives in a + shape, with bonus points for holding the centre. There was a special rule to say no forward deployment, but we both missed it and filled the middle of the board with Genestealers and Rangers, so opted to ignore it rather than redoing our entire deployment.
I got first turn and all the Genestealers pushed up to cause problems. They were a little underwhelming in melee but they did the job of keeping most of the Eldar back in their deployment zone. Over the next couple of turns we exchanged kills at a fairly even rate, but once I'd pushed rangers off objectives I was scoring much better on the primary points. Highlights were Swooping Hawks bombing the Hive Tyrant, but then him soaking up loads of firepower on his last few wounds, and the Trygon Prime getting blasted in overwatch by a wraith-cannon.
With both of us relatively unfamiliar with our books, it was a slow game and ended after we both had a turn three. Neither of us did particularly well on the secondaries but my board control handed me a comfortable win in the end.
Game two was against John and his Slaanesh Daemons (last seen playing Tau in an all xenos doubles game). He was effectively running with four Keepers, including the Forge World 400+ point one, with a load of random Exalted Daemon upgrades, leaving him starting on three command points. John has been fairly out of the loop with 9th edition so he opted for a book he knows well rather than playing his Tau. I think this list would have looked pretty scary in 8th edition, but John commented that he wasn't hopeful as my list did basically the same stuff (fast, melee, monsters) but with shooting and loads more units as well.
The mission was Tide of Conviction, a six objective, hold two mission where bonus points were scored for holding objectives in your opponent's half. We both had the speed to get there!
I'd like to claim tactical superiority but this game was mostly just a new Codex bullying and old one. A single T-fex blasted a keeper off the board in turn one, and after that John was on the back foot. The daemons had a good turn one, rushing up and engaging multiple units, but I had screened out my biggest threats. The Trygon Prime made a mess out of a Keeper while the Zoanthropes and T-fexes continued to blast away from afar. One highlight for John was a turn one charge from a buffed up 'stealer unit completely bouncing off one of the Keepers, getting murdered in the following psychic phase and allowing the Keeper to make a long bomb charge into the hiding Broodlord, snipping it in half.
In the end the Slaanesh forces were tabled on turn four, while I still had quite a few key units remaining, allowing me to max the primary for a somewhat crushing final score.
So the final game was against Matt's Orks, who I'd recently faced in the Crusade League. That game was a bit one sided, so I was expecting a hard fight. Matt had a fairly tasty Goff list lead by Ghaz himself, accompanied by two Beast Bosses on Squigosaurs and two Killrigs. It was definitely going to be brutal!
The mission was Death and Zeal; corner deployment with a middle bubble of no-man's land. Five objectives and bonus points for killing opponents off the objectives.
I got first turn and immediately destroyed a Killrig with the Rupture cannons and a buffed up unit of 'stealers running in. The Orks responded with massive pressure, killing a bunch of forward units and some Squighogs making a big advance in order to charge the Hive Tyrant and cut it down (before being dispatched by the heroically intervening Trygon Prime). We exchanged heavy casualties and objectives in the first couple of turns, but by the end we were both running out of units and scrambling to find ways to score a little bit more. We knew it was going to be tight, and I thought a last minute objective dash from Matt's Gretchin might have pinched it, but it wasn't quite enough. We both maxed out the Primary but I had pulled ahead on the secondaries, mainly thanks to all his characters for me to Assassinate!
There were plenty of highlights in this game, Ghaz went on a rampage and killed both T-fexes before being finished off by the Broodlord, who also finished the second Killrig. The Trygon had a dual with a Beastboss, getting killed, then fighting on death and not quite killing the big Squig. At one point Makari had planted the banner in the middle of the board and was defending against a load of Genestealers. It was pretty epic.
(Note that for this event all armies were assumed to be painted so everyone got the 10 points regardless)
So with that I had three wins and ended up placing second (of twelve) and earning myself a sweet sweet voucher. Definitely an improvement on the last couple of events, and proof enough that this new Nid book is pretty strong!
Looking back at what went right for me - going heavy on Genestealers and winning first turn every time was probably a help, not sure it was game winning for any of them but they certainly would have been very different. In particular game three would have resulted in the Orks pushing me back initially and might have stopped me scoring a bit - though they probably wouldn't have been able to kill off the Hive Tyrant so fast. On the Genestealers themselves, I'm still undecided. Behemoth definitely suits them, and they performed well vs the Orks, but ran into hard targets in game one and were mixed against the Slaanesh daemons, when their ap was irrelevant.
I was a little disappointed with the Hive Tyrant, the loadout didn't generate nearly as many mortal wounds as I'd like and was quite squishy. I think in future he'll get a defensive buff instead of being kitted up for mortals.
As for things I definitely was impressed with - man, those Rupture cannons! They consistently got a wound in pretty much every time they fired, putting a big dent in whatever it was. The T-fex was also nice and tough, and surprisingly quick now with a much improved movement of 9 and no bonus for staying still. Of course the Zoanthropes also did some work with their smites and providing clearly the best Synaptic Imperative, and the Warrior unit with the Boneswords impressed me by cutting a big hole in a Killrig - though the taloned ones also pulled their weight by being reasonably tough and killy plus that synapse coverage. I strongly suspect the Boneswords will get a points cost at some point, they are clearly the better option if you've got the models.
In any case, I had a lot of fun and came away with plenty to think about for next time! Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and stay safe out there.