Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What would fix tyranids? 4 simple errata changes would solve it

Having now played with the new Tyranids a lot, and theory crafted them like crazy, here are four simple changes I think would elevate the book from - awful - to, CSM/Dark Angel level of power.

1) Reduce the point cost of the Tyranid prime by about 50-60pts. He's an IC that gives synapse, which is what tyranids need to keep their army operating. A cost effective way to hide that synapse in a huge blob of gaunts or gargoyles or carnifex's where it can't be insta-gibbed. With his current points cost, there becomes very little reason not to just make the leap to a Tyrant, which outperforms him in every way for close to the same points value. If he was reduced in cost he suddenly becomes a much more interesting HQ. Possibly changing ideal  HQ's to the tyranid prime & a flyrant, or him and deathleaper. It at least makes it viable.

2) Give venomthropes the IC or Character special rules, or a special rule which allows their squad to "merge" with another unit of tyranids (any unit would be fine), effectively becoming part of that squad, but able to use those other bodies as a meatshield. The stealth / whatever aura's would not need rules updates as they'd simply radiate from the Venomthrope models as they do now. They need the character special rule, to allow them some small chance of "look out sir!" on hits, as it could be presumed a good hive mind thinking tactically would wish to at least attempt to preserve its cover.

3) Upgrade their anti-tank guns to confer "Tank Hunters". It wouldn't take much, but given how few anti-tank guns tyranids have, and how few shots those guns have, allowing a re-roll to penetrate armor would make a huge difference. Their ballistic skill is bad enough as it is, the odds of their big-anti tank guns doing anything is minimal currently. You figure, after rolling to hit, penetrate, then the opponent takes a cover save, that two shot S10 gun, suddenly doesn't seem all that great. Nor do hive guard frankly (though obviously minus the cover save).

4) Give Deathleaper synapse. This is super important. For a unit that has to run around by itself, and is super vulnerable to being annihilated easily (esp by tau), its important to at least have something positive going for him worth losing a flyrant or tyranid prime for. It's hard enough to get synapse in the army as it is.

Not to mention, it's really silly to have this super elite infiltrator, pop out, totally has his shit together for a single turn, then loses it and lurks like a wimp out of synapse.

Now I could go on as I have in previous posts about all the other things that suck about Tyranids, and the numerous changes needed to make the book functional. But I've done that already, and rather than suggest a million changes that can't happen, I'm suggesting four that could happen, if I'm lucky, and some GW FAQ writer stumbles across this blog post (unlikely), a few errata tweaks could easily turn the book around.

Naturally I still think tervigons got the shaft, and other things really cripple this book. However, its unreasonable to expect such a core changes on a printed book.

I would point to the lack of being able to take book powers, or being able to ally with themselves as additional features that hurt tyranids.

The synapse table is brutal.

Serious lack of punch by the little ones (due to tervigon nerf) is disheartening.

The tyranid artifacts are decent, they are just super over-costed. An across the board lowering by 10-15 pts on each item would make them more more palatable.
That kinda stuff.

But we can work around those problems, if the four changes listed above were made.

I know full well I can't ever expect them to happen, so I'm just kinda wishlisting it.

I've heard bandied around the internet that GW is designing books to be fun, not to be competitive. My answer to that is, its not fun to get curb-stomped and lose. This is a strategy game as much as it is a model painting game, we should be encouraging the creation of models which can participate in both sides of that equation. It's not fun to paint a super awesome model, then watch it sit on your shelf because its so horrendous to use. It's also not fun to play armies which lose consistently. I don't care how beer and pretzels of a player you are, if you always lose and games are super difficult, its disheartening and far from fun.


  1. Unless you think losing is fun.

    Point being, fun is subjective. Though you probably right in that the majority of players don't think its fun to lose over and over.

  2. Fair point. I lose more games than I win in general, and still have fun. That said, my losses are usually very close, often coming down to a few key dice rolls at the game end, which can make it feel grand. Close games are usually always fun because it feels like theres a lot of back and forth, and you gave as good as you got, even if you lost.

    So I guess i was refering to is playing a game and feeling utterly helpless because your army just can't handle what's happening to it. Unless someone is a serious BDSM lover, i doubt feeling helpless is a thing they want =0

    1. I think GW has forgotten some of the cores of game-design. I've heard it summed up as an A.B.C. model. A=Autonomy as in, the players should feel a sense of control (customization in models and army lists is great for this), B=belonging, being in a community, having people to play against, and finally C=competence...meaning, you can have successes in the game. Tyranids probably fail in the C aspect. Hard to feel competent with them...when they make you lose over and over.