Nick’s Tyranids at the Bay Area Open 2015

Heading into the Bay Area Open, my goal was to win Best Tyranids and finish in the top 20. I thought I had a good chance at this; I had finished 2-0-1 at a recent BAO Prep RTT, with my tie coming against Eldar.

Unfortunately I failed to achieve either of my BAO goals and finished 2-3, with 2 of my losses coming against Top 5 finishers. Now, I know what you’re thinking; how could a dedicated Tyranid blogger not even break 50% at the BAO? Well, I made some costly mistakes that I would like to share with you!


First, let me review the army list I took, and review each unit:

  • 3 Flyrants – These guys are great as always. They will continue to be a staple in all of my lists.
  • 6 Mucolids – When these guys kill something it’s a bonus… still, I see no reason to include Rippers over Mucolids. Cheap Troops is one of the major strengths of the Tyranid book. I’d rather take a Lictor and 2 Mucolids than 2×3 Ripper Swarms.
  • 3 Lictors – Great for line-breaker and popping up to harass isolated units and score Maelstrom points. Very fragile, but if used in conjunction, they can really put a hurt on opponents.
  • 1 Malanthrope – When used in combination with a Void Shield, nothing dies first turn. This guy is a bargain at 85 points.
  • 1 Mawloc – I had some moderate success with the Mawloc. It really hurts when he pops up, scatters, and ends up in no mans land. I guess it’s just part of the risk of taking these guys. Still, 140 points for T6 6W that can burrow and pop back up… it’s a pretty good deal.
  • 1 Barbed Hierodule – Played a major role in my game against Tau and held the Relic vs Space Marines. The question is; is he worth the points? 565 points (+85 for the Malanthrope and +100 for the Void Shield to keep this guy safe). The Hierodule is perhaps the best solution for Wraithknights, as nothing else Tyranids have can even come close. He performed well, but I have questions about his cost efficiency and fit with my Tyranid list. That’s not to say I won’t come crawling back to the Barbie (it’s happened before), but for the time being, I’ll try something else.
  • Void Shield Generator – The VSG is perhaps the best Fortification in the game. For 100 points it protects you and annoys opponents to no end. It was great with the Hierodule and the Malanthrope, but as I am moving away from the Hierodule, I am unsure that I will use it in my future list.

Second, here are my opponents and a brief synopsis of each game:


1. 11-0 Win vs Josh (3-2) Space Marines with Vindicators, Whirlwinds, Predators, Thunderfire Cannons and an Imperial Knight – Josh’s army did not match up well against mine. I was able to take out his Knight with my Hierodule in front and Flyrants to the side. Then I went after his Predators. Just a bad match-up all around for Josh, and an easy win (11-0) for the Tyranids.




2. 4-7 Loss vs Israel (5-0) Tau with Farsight, 2×3 Broadsides, 2 Riptides, 6 Tetras, Multiple Crisis Suit Squads. This was the KP mission. I deployed defensively enough to not lose anything on the first turn. I should have stayed defensive, as the Teritiary missions and Maelstrom objectives really favor second turn and I was fairly certain that I could win primary with my low KP army. But my eyes got wide at the thought of alpha-striking a Riptide. So I rolled to seize and… I did! Unfortunately I only did 1 wound that first turn. Whoops. Should have just gone second. I take Primary, but Israel takes Secondary and all 3 Teritiary points for a 4-7 Tyranid loss.


3. 11-0 Win vs Paul (3-2) Space Marine Battle Company. Tyranids match up really well against the Battle Company. Paul did not play aggressively enough, and I camped my Barbed Hierodule on the Relic. He sent squads at it, but not enough and I was able to kill everything that came close. He had one last hope, in which is Centurions shot at the Hierodule, hoping to do a few wounds, but my dice were hot and I only lost one wound. Paul was actually up on Maelstrom points at this time, but conceded the game during turn 4 when he realized the Hierodule was there to stay. I offered to let the points count where they were (would have been a 7-4 victory for me), but instead he took the 11-0 loss.


4. 1-10 Loss vs Jon (4-0-1) Khorne Deamonkin with 5 Maulerfiends, Fire Raptor, Blood Thirster – Alright! I’m on Table 10 to start Day 2. Jon is 2-0-1 and I’m the highest scoring 2-1 player. This game started out great. Turn 1 I kill his Bloodthirster. Turn 2 I kill his Possessed, along with a Maulerfiend. He is wracking up Blood Tokens, but I’m feeling really good about this game.

Heading into Turn 4 my Flyrants are untouched, my Hierodule just killed another Maulerfiend (my opponent has 3 left, but one is immobilized). I landed my Warlord Flyrant to kill some Obsec Cultists, as the only threat to it was the Fire Raptor. However, I failed to cast Catalyst (ouch), and the +1 to hit from strafing run really benefited Jon. He was able to knock out all 4 wounds from my Warlord in one volley of shooting from the Fire Raptor. Ouch. He then made an 11″ charge to get a Maulerfiend into close combat with the Hierodule (another Maulerfiend was closer and made a shorter charge). The 2 Maulerfiends did 5 Wounds to my poor Barbie! Double Ouch. My lone attack back finished off a Maulerfiend, but the one remaining finished off the Hierodule in the next turn.

This massive swing cost me the game. I gave up Warlord, Jon took the lead on Maelstrom, and two of my units that I was counting on to contest objectives were gone. He them used his Blood Tithe’s to get some additional units to secure objectives. Great opponent, but landing the Flyrant, and not staying far enough away with the Barbie cost me the win.


5. 2-10 Loss vs Mike (3-1-1) Necrons with Wraithstar and Lychguard. After that huge swing in the last game, I was really worn out and not all there for my last game. Facing the undying Necrons was not a fun prospect. Mike played well, rushing up the Wraiths on one side of my castle, and the Lychguard on the other. This trapped my Hierodule and Malanthrope, and by turn 3 they were both dead. I should have reserved them! I made a game of it with some last second objective shenanigans with Lictors, and a Mawloc popping. I almost pulled out primary, but instead of ending on turn 5, the game continued. All he had to do was kill one Lictor (with a lot of shooting) and the game was his.

My opponents finished with a very impressive 18-5-2 record. Israel finished 3rd and Jon finished 5th.

Lessons: I played Dark Eldar almost exclusively in 5th edition, and really learned how to master a fragile army. As fragile as Dark Eldar are, I think Tyranids (at least how I play them) are just as fragile. One good volley of shooting or one bad set of rolls on armor saves can really swing the game. With only 9 models (not including the Mucolids), every loss is tough. Even the Lictors. I think Tyranids need to be played as a very defensive army, that can bob and weave with the opponent.

With that said, here is my idea for a new list:

Moving forward, I plan to maximize the strengths of the Tyranid Codex, namely Flying Hive Tyrants. These guys are great at hunting Jetbikes, Marine Squads, and Transports. Mucolids are solid, cheap, Troops choice and can easily be hidden (allowing me to null deploy). Lictors are nifty with their ability to pop up all over the place, but are mainly there to score Maelstrom Objectives. Mawlocs are one of the most cost effective Monstrous creatures in the game. Their ability to tunnel, along with the Flyrants ability to fly off the board, allows me to play very defensively. Mawlocs are also great at hunting Jetbikes and Marines.

My new 1,850 List:

  • 5 Flyrants
  • 5 Mucolids
  • 3 Lictors
  • 3 Mawlocs

Very similar to Jy2’s Tyranid list, only I swapped out the 4th Mawloc for 3 Lictors. I like the Lictors ability to grab Maelstrom points, but the durability and staying power of the Lictor is much less.

I hope you enjoyed my write-up. Any comments about my lists, strategy or summary are always welcomed and appreciated!

About Nick C

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