Tyranid 6th Edition Codex - Warlord Traits, Synapse, and Psychic Powers Review
Greetings friends and enemies of the Hive Mind! Murphy80 back with another look at the new Tyranid Codex for 6th Edition Warhammer 40k. So far I've looked at individual units: their stats, options, and tactics. However, this time around I'm going to dive into the army-wide rules that will impact many individual units. If you are looking for some of those individual reviews, look here and at the bottom of the article for more:
Every 6th edition codex has been blessed with its own, characterful Warlord Chart, and the Tyranids are no different. We will look at how these new traits will impact battles, however randomly. I like Warlord Traits, but to be honest, I often forget to even use them!
The new Synapse and Instinctive Behavior rules are something that every Tyranid player will need to use every game. Victory or defeat will depend on managing this special rule! We will take a look at the new rules and how to use them.
Last, but certainly not least, are the new Powers of the Hive Mind, the Tyranid psychic power list. Ready? Let's go!
Tyranid Warlord Traits
Every army needs a commander, and in Warhammer 40k, this is chosen as your Warlord. The 40k rulebook has three different categories you can choose from and then you roll a die to see what trait you get. As a Tyranid warlord, you may choose to roll on one of the charts in the main rulebook OR you may roll on the new chart below:
Roll that d6!
- Nature's Bane: Every movement phase, nominate a set of Woods within 12" of your Warlord. The woods become Carnivorous Jungle for the rest of the game.
- Heightened Senses: Warlord and all units within 12" have Night Vision.
- Synaptic Lynchpin: Your Warlord's synapse range is increased to 18".
- Mind Eater: You gain 2 victory points every time your warlord slays an Independent Character in a challenge!
- Digestive Denial: Choose one piece of terrain in your opponent's deployment zone and that terrain has one worse cover save (5+ become a 6+).
- Adaptive Biology: As soon as your warlord takes an unsaved wound, it gains Feel No Pain for the rest of the game.
So . . . these are pretty neat, but they are completely random, so they wont influence your choice of army composition or probably even your battle plan. There are some cool tricks, though, for particular traits. The Carnivorous Jungle one is cool because you know that your opponent will likely abandon that terrain piece to avoid taking those kits.
The stand-out to me is the trait where your gain 2 VPs for killing independent characters with your Warlord. That can be a game changer! Expect enemy commanders to be running for the nearest bunker.
Alright, let's move on to the heart of the Tyranid army: Synapse!
Tyranid Deals Here!
Tyranid Synapse and Instinctive Behavior
So here's the deal. At the start of every one of your turns, you must check to see if your units are within 12" of a Synapse creature. If any unit is outside this range, then it must pass a Leadership test. If it fails the test, then you must roll on an Instinctive Behavior chart, which means you basically lose control of the unit. There are some exception to this rule:
If a unit is engaged in melee, is falling back, gone to ground, or had arrived from Reserves that turn, then it does not need to check. We will cover what happens with Instinctive Behavior in a moment.
First, the good news about Synapse is that as long as units ARE within 12" of a Synapse creature, that unit is Fearless! A unit that is falling back will also automatically Regroup if it starts the turn within Synapse range. So if your entire army starts the turn in Synapse range, then it will be a Fearless wave of creatures charging forward, heedless of casualties, pinning checks, or anything thing else to slow you down.
EDITED: I had some strategy incorrect before, so thank you to commenter Jonny for the correction! Basically, your units are only Fearless while they are within 12" of a synapse creature, so if that synapse creature is killed during your opponent's turn, your other units will lose Fearless and then be susceptible to Morale checks if subsequently targeted. Protect your Synapse, people!
There are three types of Instinctive Behavior and every unit has its type mentioned in its description: Lurk, Hunt, and Feed. If you have to make a test and fail the Leadership, you must consult the relevant chart and roll 1d6. Basically 1-3, something really bad happens. 4-5 something aggressive happens. With a roll of a 6; there is a little bonus, but the unit still is out of your control. Let's look.
Lurk: 1-3 the unit Falls Back. 4-5 the unit is not slowed by difficult terrain but may only Shoot if it inside a building or area terrain; it cannot assault. 6 is as above, but the unit gains Stealth.
Hunt: 1-3 the unit Goes to Ground (unless Fearless, then skip to the next result). 4-5 the unit MUST shoot at the nearest enemy in the shooting phase; if no targets in LoS then it does nothing! 6 the unit acts as above, but gains Preferred Enemy!
Feed: 1-3 the unit attacks itself, taking a hit for each model at its basic Strength AP-. If the unit only has one model, then it goes to the next result instead. 4-5 the unit cannot shoot or run, but must assault the closest unit. If no assault is possible then it does nothing during the Assault Phase. 6 the unit acts as above but gains the Rage special rule.
So it's not as bad as it appears. If you have absolutely no units in Synapse range by round 2 or 3, it's going to be a tough game for you, as you will have lost all tactical control of your army. However, if a unit finds itself out of synapse range here and there, or you lose a synapse creature in your line, those units will basically do what they are designed to do... Weaker creatures find cover and shoot; Shooting units tend to open fire at the enemy, and Stompy units tend to charge forward.
They're bugs. They aren't smart, but they can still hurt.
The biggest thing is control. You want plenty of Synapse Creatures alive so that your army is Fearless, moving towards your objectives, and totally in your tactical control. This is actually very cool because you are the Hive Mind of your army. If you start losing your Synapse creatures, your plans will start falling apart.
Tyranid Psychic Powers
So one of the biggest complaints that players have had is that they lost access to the Psychic Disciplines in the main rulebook: most notably, Biomancy. I can understand this pain because I run Chaos Daemons primarily (this last few months) and I eat Biomancy for breakfast. Seriously, that power set has kept my units and Daemon Princes alive or killing things in every game I've played.
So we know what the Tyranids are losing, so what are they gaining. Let's check.
Dominion - Warp Charge 1 - you increase your Synapse range by 6". This is quite nice as it turns your 12" radius into an 18" radius, which is a pretty big bubble on the tabletop.
- Catalyst - blessing that targets the psykers unit AND another unit within 12": both gain Feel No Pain.
- The Horror - malediction that targets an enemy unit at 24". That unit must immediately take a Pinning check at a -2 LD.
- Onslaught - blessing for one unit within 24", and the unit can Run and Shoot (just like Eldar, yay!)
- Paroxysm - a malediction on a unit within 24" and the target suffers a -1d3 to its WS and BS.
- Psychic Scream - A nova targeting enemies within 6" . . . those units must roll 2d6 + 2 and then subtract its LD. It suffers wounds equal to the result with no armor or cover saves!
- Warp Blast - Warp Charge 2 - two modes for it, a Burst or a Lance. The Burst is 24" Str 5 AP3 Assault 1 Blast. The Lance is 18" Str 10 AP2 Assault 1 Lance.
There are some gems here, and some others that will require some strategy. For instance, Onslaught that turns a unit into a Running/Shooting unit. Meh. This can be great when army-wide like the Eldar have, but it will be tricky to use for one unit. Note, you have to Run and THEN shoot, so you can't even move, shoot, and then run back like the Eldar do.
However, if you have lots of Psychics running around, then multiples of this power can be a multiplier! The one that reduces enemy WS and BS by 1d3? Nice . . . Space Marines can now hit on 5's or 6's! Hit a devastator squad with that and they will be likely useless for a turn.
I want to note that the Warp Blast is a pretty nasty Strength 10 Lance. This will eat through AV 14 like it's nothing.
I see these powers as helpful but hard to build an army around. The Eldar do it, but these aren't Eldar. You will be buffing units, debuffing others, and blasting things. We will have to look at the individual psyker units and see how they fit in. For a future review!
New Tyranid Rules
What do you think about the feel of the new Tyranids?
That's about it! These rules are just a glance at how things will work, but they will not give us a lot of strategy or tactics yet. We really need to see these rules in the context of both individual units, and combinations of units. Don't hate on an army until you play it or play against it . . . though on paper, these rules aren't awe inspiring like some other armies we've seen this year.
Check back soon for some more Tyranid reviews coming up soon. In the mean time, check out my review of these units and some others. Take the poll on the right before you leap at the next article, will you?
If bugs aren't your thing, then how about some power armor? We've got something for everyone here in 40k!
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below and I'll get back to you! Readers always give great insight and I'm curious what people think about the changes to Synapse and the new Psychic Powers! Alright for now; Murphy Out!