Codex: Tyranids Review, Part 2 - Strategems

Codex: Tyranids Review, Part 2 - Strategems

Ian O'Brien

Hi everybody, and welcome to part two of our Codex: Tyranids review. Today we'll be focusing on the new stratagems in the book, and there's quite a lot of them, so let's dive in and not waste any time - we've got stuff to devour, and now we can do it strategically!

(check out our short article on ratings if you want to see what our ratings are all about)


I'm English, but I think we can all appreciate what Mr Warrior is saying here.


Psychic Barrage - C

The standard copy-paste Linebreaker strategy, except this time using Zoanthropes instead of Vindicators. Great if it comes off, but too many units required, too easy for your opponent to break, and still requires a random roll. Keep this one for casual play.

Caustic Blood - B

This is a really solid stratagem if you know when to use it. Khorne Berserkers tearing up your Termagant screen? Howling Banshees killing your Hormagaunts? Pop this and watch them kill themselves as punishment! This will be a nasty surprise for opponents who aren't aware that you can do it, and you should be watch for opportunities to use it at all times.

Rapid Regeneration - B

On-demand healing is always powerful in the right situation. In an army with as many monsters and hence as many degradation tables as Tyranids (and the worst degredation tables in 40k, to boot... :sadface:), being able to heal your unit back to a higher threshold in a pinch often might as well read "+1 to hit" on top. Use sparingly due to its high 2CP cost, though.

Scorch Bugs - C

Turn your giant units of gants, or your Fleshborer Hive Tyrannofex (no, you shouldn't be running a Fleshborer Hive Tyrannofex) into a much scarier unit. Your Fleshborers will now wound T7 vehicles on a 4+, guard screens on a 2+ et cetera. The problem is that you need a gant blob big enough to benefit from it and that gant blob needs to be in range; so whilst the strategem itself is great, the it's a little bit restrictive to do much work. For just 1CP it's worth keeping this in your back pocket for occasional use, maybe combined with Single Minded Annihilation if the situation warrants it I guess? It's going to be a bit niche but I'm sure it will come up on occasion.

Feeder Tendrils - S

If this didn't have the word "Genestealer" in it it would be a solid D, but it does, so it's excellent. Genestealers killed an enemy character? Gain 0-2 CP. That's it, simple. Tyranids have so many great uses for their CP and Genestealers are such a ubiquitous unit that getting something for free is simply fantastic. Make sure to model a few of your Genestealer models with Feeder Tendrils and make gobbling noises whenever you use this!


Comment if you get the reference!

Implant Attack - B

Inflict a mortal wound on a 2+ on a unit that you wounded and didn't kill. Simple but great - I've already heard stories of a unit of Genestealers killing a Magnus, a Mortarion, and a Space Marine Biker (ok, bit less impressive that one) with this. Again, a super useful strategy that won't always be relevant but is highly reliable when you need it to be.

Bounty of the Hive Fleet - C

Eh, it's a struggle to find a second good Bio-Artefact in most lists (outside of Kraken, who have maybe the best artefact/relic in the game so far), it's even more of a struggle to find three. There's some OK choices but nothing I'd be regularly spending CP on. I'm sure occasionally you might want to grab a Miasma Cannon on top of your Behemoth claws or something like that, but I'd expect it'll be an exception to the rule.

Metabolic Overdrive - A

The ability to to move a unit twice, even if it might take damage and can't do anything afterwards, can be game changing. 40k is ultimately (in most rulesets anyway) an objective-based game, and many of our units love melee. Being where you need to be when you need to be there is therefore very important, which makes this strategem truly excellent. It also has some niche uses too; it doesn't stop psychic powers from being cast, so making a huge reposition with a Smite+Psychic Scream psyker, unit of Zoanthropes or even a Maleceptor can make for some funky and surprising plays.

Single-Minded Annihilation - B

 Shoot twice for only 2CP. Excellent? Unfortunately not, because it's limited to infantry only. I'm sure this might be a controversial ranking, but I really don't like this strategem. Devilgant blobs are expensive and though this combos well with the aforementioned Scorch Bugs that's still just a bunch of S4 0AP shots; Hive Guard are great but limited to units of 6. I just don't see this strategem being as game-changing as it looks on paper. Endless Cacophony is a big deal because you can use it on big-deal units; we just don't have any of those in our infantry choices.

Grisly Feast - D

More like Garbage Feast.

Pathogenic Slime - A

We've got 24 shot Carnifexes and Flyrants, Tyrannofexes that average 14 Acid Spray hits, and plenty more besides. Giving them +1 damage is great, but make sure you do your maths first - it's not always as incredible as it sounds, and sometimes you're spending 2CP for an extra 2 wounds on average. Against the right targets though (or as a hail mary with some luck involved) this can be killer.


I love Spore Mines, and I wish this was better :(

Sporefield - D

Requires reinforcement points in matched play. Even in non-matched play, 3CP for this seems like a lot.

Invisible Hunter - C

I like Lictors, they're cheap and have reasonable stats, but they're not incredible. Now we have an extra reason to take them for Pheromone Trails (read on!). This strategem seems designed to get them through a screen and into a delicious-brained character beyond but unfortunately single Lictors aren't quite good enough to take out a character so this probably isn't worth spending your points on unless you're in the incredibly niche situation of a) having a Lictor b) in combat and c) needing it to tie up something nearby.

Power of the Hive Mind - C

Most lists I've written so far don't have redundancy in their powers so this won't come up very often, but it's useful when it does, I guess. Another strat that is really for non-matched play.

Pheromone Trail - B

Lictors rejoice! You have a raison d'etre in 8th. Most units that can set up in reinforcement also have a way to deep strike, so this power is mostly pointless, except for one important thing; Genestealers' new ability to use their Infestation Nodes. This power turns that ability into your Genestealers having actual deep strike, letting you keep them safe from first turn alpha strikes and deploy them in your enemy's face without shelling out for a Trygon. All for the low cost of 1CP and 45 points, and you get a free Lictor thrown in too!

Death Frenzy - C

This would be a great stratagem were it not for degradation tables making it pretty crappy on... just about everybody. Most of our characters either degrade to the point of this not being worth 2CP (Hive Tyrant, Swarmlord), or can't fight well enough for this to be worth 2CP in the first place (Malanthrope, Neurothrope). The Prime could get some benefit from this in some situations but again, not really 2CP worth. The most notable target for this is Old One-Eye, who will most likely mince anything that kills him in melee if you get this off.


The card that finally put Mono Green Stompy on the map... wait

Overrun - A

It's a movement ability, and as mentioned with Metabolic Overdrive, movement is king. Take a clutch objective, reposition your big melee unit in their turn ready for a charge in yours, push into your enemy's backfield, or combine with Adrenaline Surge for a double-whammy on two units that were too far apart to follow up into (though bear in mind charge targeting rules). All for 1CP.

Voracious Appetite - A

A lot of Tyranid monsters actually aren't that scary, mathematically. It makes me a little sad, but that's the world we live in. Tyranids also have a bit of a problem with cracking armour (particularly T8). This cheap strategem solves both of these problems, and turns all of our melee monsters into melee beasts. A staple for any list using melee.

Call The Brood - D

3CP for 5 Genestealers that you have to pay reinforcement points for. Pointless for Matched Play. Maybe in narrative play, but like Sporefield, isn't this a bit expensive?


Adrenaline Surge: Always a payoff

Adrenaline Surge - S

Fight twice, no unit restrictions (unlike Single-Minded Annihilation... pah). Excellent, but please practice multi-charging especially if you want to get mileage out of Overrun too. Many a Khorne player has been saddened when he learned how charge targeting works. Expect "I Adrenaline Surge my Genestealers" to be heard spoken by competitive Tyranid players a lot.

Endless Swarm - D

The targets for this are too restrictive (unless you're Hydra) and it costs points in Matched Play, so like similar abilities, this is really for narrative play only.

Digestive Denial - C

The old favourite is back. This isn't great, especially given its high cost of 2CP, but very occasionally if you're playing shooty nids and your opponent puts a large firebase in a single piece of terrain I guess you might pull this out of your bag of tricks.


We already reviewed the Hive Fleet-specific strategems in our last article so I'll just rate them here for the sake of completeness:

The Enemy Below (Jormungandr) - A

Brute Force (Behemoth) - B

War on All Fronts (Leviathan) - C

The Deepest Shadow (Kronos) - A

Hyper-Toxicity (Gorgon) - B

Opportunistic Advance (Kraken) - S


When I rate things a "B", I mean "good in the right situation but not good all of the time". The fact that Tyranids have so many strategems that I've rated a B makes me really happy - it says to me that I have a lot of options that will reward me for good choices as a player, which is a great place to be in and speaks to a really well-written Codex. In fact, I think that Tyranids have not only the best written but the straight up best Strategem selection so far (if not necessarily the most outright powerful individual strategems, I'm looking at you VotLW+Endless Cacophony). There are some standouts and there is at least one that can radically alter your army dynamics (The Enemy Below), so Tyranid players should be happy - I know I am.

That's it for our review of Tyranid strategems - we hope it was useful! Check back again tomorrow for the third part of our Codex review when we'll be looking at Warlord Traits, Bio-Artefacts and Psychic Powers.



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