So the mighty Carnifex, still worth taking and the king of big beasties?
The Carnifex like everything else in the Tyranid codex went up in points, actually this sucker nearly doubled! Standard wise you get a ok fighter with ok shooting though its real strength is how strong this beast is throw in the generic T6 for monster creatures with 4 wounds and 3+ save and you've got a tough cookie.
Standard wargear wise this guy gets two sets of scything talons, which allow you to re-roll all failed to hits. These suit the generic Carnifex build well as the special rule "Living Battering Ram" gives you a +2 initiative when charging. Not bad eh, so a I3 monstrous creature swinging around. A pity the Carnifex doesn't have fleet to make the most of this, though I guess you cannot have everything.
The most noteable difference is Carnifexs now come in broods up to 3 so you can double or treble your fire power or assault numbers but this could be over kill. And that all Carnifexs in the brood must have the same wargear, so no wound allocation abusing :( .
Also you can take a Mycetic Spore as transport, but this is only if you take one Carnifex. I probably wouldn't be inclinded to do this as once the Fex lands it will be a high priority and will be nailed. You could give it two sets of twin-linked devourers and deep strike it behind vehicles, or take a venom cannon, though the venom cannon doesn't lack range so this probably isn't the best use.
Wargear is a lot slimmer compared to the old codex but at least majority of these have a use! First upgrade is crushing claws which give a extra D3 attacks but you will always strike at initiative 1 in assault, so that goodie +2 initiative when charging is wasted. The crushing claws are also a gamble on the dice roll you could end up with 1 extra attack or 3 extra attacks, however I think these are not worth 25 points a pop as its not reliable.
One final mention about crashing claws, is they are handy when doing smash attacks. Take your base attacks, half it and then add D3 extra = awesome! But still, 25 points and you lose the living battering ram rule, effectively.
The Carnifex can be setup for anti infantry with twin-linked deathspitters or twin-linked devourers. While the devourers lack ap they fire double shots and are probably the best out the pair. 12 twin-linked S6 shots should nail something like a Rhino pretty easily in a single volley. A Fex with this setup would make a ideal support unit for a Hive Tyrant on foot using a more or less same setup. Here is my Hive Tyrant tactica just in case - Hive Tyrant tactica
You can upgrade the Carnifex for biggers guns. First one in the list is the renamed barbed strangler; the stranglethorn cannon. This is S6 AP5 so you wound T4 on a 2+ and instant death T3 models, so watch out Eldar and Imperial Guard! This also throws in a pinning test too. I think this would work well with the devourers and not with the other bigger ranged weapon. The stranglethorn is anti infantry and best fire this before scoring maximum damage on a unit before finishing them off with the twin-linked devourers, this way you will score a pinning test (if you score a kill) and more chances of a -1 to morale test from the devourers.
The heavy venom cannon is still the ranged anti tank weapon of choice on the Carnifex. It packs S9 AP4 and comes in blast template form. Thanks to 6th ed vehicle damage changes, the AP- doesn't have any effect and will damage vehicles fine when rolling on the damage chart. Don't forget that it's a blast weapon, so as long as it touches as a vehicle it will be causing some pain. While the HVC is better thanks to 6th ed rules changes, personally this isn't something I would take.
The last few selections are all biomorphs. Frag spines suit the Carnifex's default close combat setup as they count as assault grenades. For 5 points this are worth the upgrade and ensures the Carnifex keeps that + 2 initiative when charging.
Throw on adrenal glands for 10 points and your Fex is now S10 on the charge. This isn't needed as S9 is fine. The Carnifex can still tackle vehicle when S9 and the only real use is to I.D T5 units such as Thunderwolves, multi wound bikes and Necron HQs etc.
Toxin sacs are not worth it. The Carnifex will hit more or less everything in the game on a 2+ or even a 3+. Losing that just to re-roll to hit is more of a nerf.
Bio plasma I looked at and thought it was cool. Then I thought I can get a stranglethorn cannon for the same points which causes pinning and is a large blast. The bio plasma is a short ranged plasma cannon but is really expensive. Usually in codexs weapons which are the same i.e meltagun always have the same cost as they do the same damage, you pay point cost on the model carrying it due to how they're shooting etc. If that weapon hits is going to do the same damage as another model carrying the same weapon. So based on that why is a plasma cannon 5 points in the Space Marine codex and 10 points (?) in the Chaos Marine codex but 20 points for a Carnifex and only 12" range, a 1/3 of the range! I'd leave this at home, despite it being cool in my opinion.
Regeneration is ok but its not always something I would bank on. You either make the roll or don't and for 25 points it can be wasted if you don't make that roll to get those wounds back. Consider this one wisely...
In summary I think the standard build is ok. Though don't expect to make combat all that often. Twin-linked devourer setup is brilliant and stranglethorn cannon is ok. The Carnifex has some poor choices but you can use most of them.
1 x Carnifex - 2 x scything talons, frag mines & bio plasma
1 x Carnifex - 2 x twin-linked devourers
1 x Carnifex -1 x twin-linked devourers, 1 x stranglethorn cannon
Any comments or suggestions be sure to let me know! :)