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Tactica: Tyranid Warrior

Ah the Tyranid Warrior, now a formidable troop choice in the Tyranid codex bringing synapse into the troop department. At a first glance each Warrior costs 30 points which is a fair amount of points for a troop model but if you look closer you'll see these guys are better fighters than Space Marines meaning they hit on a 3+ throw in that they have 3 attacks each and 3 wounds makes them tough to put down. Ok they're not so good at shooting, but majority of Tyranids hit on a 4+ now including the mighty Hive Tyrant, only the tank busting elites hit on a 3+ these days. And there armour save is only 4+ but with 3 wounds a piece and able to give them cover from swarm units you should be ok.


Wargear, these guys have a devourer and a pair of scything talons which isn't a too bad load out. The devourers give them 3 shots each at S4 and the talons allow them to re-roll 1's to hit in combat, so as standard these guys are built to multi role as anti infantry fire power and assault, but you can make them a lot better!

Firstly lets talk about shooting upgrades. The standard devourer is ok for basic anti infantry but I do feel the deathspitter is probably better for that 5 point upgrade, which you get S5 and AP5 along with the same amount of shots and range, so that's a fair deal. The good thing about the deathspitter is you can tackle infantry better but you also have a little bit better shot against vehicles; excellent for glancing destruction. You can got spinefists too which are twin-linked but only S3 and pump out 3 shots each based of the Warriors number of attacks, personally I wouldn't bother with these and stick with devourer or the better deathspitter. The other two ranged weapons are the big guns; barbed strangler and venom cannon. The latter is for light armour but for the points I'd stick to the deathspitter which is only one less strength and higher AP. The barbed strangler isn't too bad packing a bolter profile and would fit with devourers going all anti infantry route.

Close combat weapon options are very sweet for the Warriors; however there is one option which I don't think is that sweet, dual scything talons. Reason is you trade the second pair in for free against the devourer which isn't a good trade and you lose ranged fire power, something the Warriors can multi role at. There's a lot better choices for close combat upgrades over dual talons ;) . You can give the Warriors rending claws for a bargain 5 points or a pair of boneswords for 10 points, so c.c weapons for 10 points, which doesn't allow armour saves and forces a leadership test on 3D6 if any model takes a wound - groovy. A lash whip and bonesword combo is available, which can come in handy, but I think the 15 points price tag is 5 points over considering you get dual power weapons for 5 points less and forces leadership tests on 3D6, though don't write the lash of yet because it's the only thing which forces the enemy to strike at initiative 1 so extremely useful if you charge into cover.

You can also take adrenal glands and or toxin sacs for 5 points a pop per model. I'd probably take toxin sacs and rending claws which make a nice combo for re-rolls giving more rends. Toxin sacs and bonesword would be nice and be great against monstrous creatures.

Tyranid Prime

At this point it would make sense for me to mention about the Tyranid Prime. This guy is a cheap HQ choice and has increased profile over a standard Warrior. The benefits it has is giving +1 weapon and ballistic skill to Warriors. Now, just because you take Warriors doesn't mean you have to take a Prime. A Prime costs at least 80 points and paying 80 points just to get a ballistic skill upgrade isn't worth it, and yes I do know I didn't mention about weapon skill and the reason is they'll hit most things on a 3+ seems WS4 is all the rage these days. While a Prime is a benefit for Warriors it isn't essential.


Warriors are great synapse units and in standard form do a pretty cheap job weighing it at 90 points for a minimum unit. What you can do is use them to increase fire power of Termagants and keep in synapse range and also use the Termagants to screen the Warriors giving them a 4+ save. Keep the Warriors in multi role of shooting and assault as they can do both tricks, but don't just gear them for assault because they do not have fleet and cannot make assault quickly, so they need some shooting. The Termagants aren't the best in close combat so with the Warriors close combat abilities use them as a shield for the Termagants, or to pack the punch. The Termagants should be used to tarpit a enemy and have the Warriors close in with the rending and power weapon goodness and let them lay the hurt down while the Termagants "pin" down the enemy with sheer numbers.

Warriors are not without problems. Anything S8 and AP4 and better will wipe them out instantly so battlecannons, mass meltas demolisher shells etc will really ruin there day. Mass fire power like bolters will struggle because of the number of wounds they have so don't worry about it and things like autocannons and heavy bolters need to be en'masse to threaten you, but you should be in cover, right?

Here's some examples:

5 x Warriors - deathspitters, rending claws & toxin sacs

3 x Warriors - devourers

5 x Warriors - deathspitters, dual boneswords & adrenal glands

The first example is perhaps the optimum build as this unit has got better fire power than standard and deals more damage in a fight using the rending claws and getting re-rolls from those toxin sacs, not to mention they can deal the pain to monstrous creatures too.

The second example is just a bare bones squad for filling synapse holes. Nothing really to show here, the unit is good for fire support and not too shabby in combat but that's about it.

The last unit is perhaps the most expensive build and taking the cream of the crop. Deathspitters give that bit better shooting and boneswords dish out no armour saves, throw in adrenal glands and these are S5 power weapon attacks so will maul basic infantry but against T6 monstrous creatures they may struggle.

* Note that this article was written for 5th ed when I played Tyranids and has been edited for 6th ed. I no longer own a Tyranid army and have not played against them in 6th or played with them.

How are the Tyranid Warriors holding up in 6th ed? Has the change to cover saves hurt them or have other rule changes made them better?